So many of you were kind enough to respond to my request for ideas on how to make the most out of lessons that I thought I'd just let you know how it's been going and perhaps encourage others who may be put off from studying because of the travel that may be involved. First let me say that I've been to two lessons with Hasuji and have found it well worth the four-hour drive. Hasuji and her husband, Aneel, are wonderfully pleasant, warm people and it would have been worth the trip just to meet them even if I was not getting a lesson.
For the lessons, I used a tape recorder which I have found very helpful. Hasuji emphasized to me the importance of using the right technique even if it feels un-natural at first. She has shown me how to sit on the floor and has explained the advantages of the 1-1-1-1-2 style of fingering over the 1-2-1-2 style I had been using. (I still think that the 1-2-1-2 is faster for extended scale passages but I suspect I will learn otherwise.) She is having me work on various exercises including scales and intervals, and also some gats in Yaman Kalyan. Hasuji tells me she will be increasing her concert schedule over the next couple of years. I will certainly make a point of attending any of her concerts that are within reasonable driving distance. (I have her CD which I like very much.) She has a website at http://www.ameritech.net/users/sundhi/index.htm.
Howdy Bob; Always nice to hear that folks had the same experience as me. I do believe the Indian people I've gotten to know have been some of the nicest people I've ever met. Just be honest and yourself, and show your interest in ICM. At that point, you become part of the extended music family. Wish we had something like that here. Would change a lot of perceptions I believe.
Just got back from a concert in Texas with sitariya Indrajit Banerjee and Gouri Sankar, his tablaya. Brilliant as usual! Plus they had a special guest (friend of mine) on sarode. So, like you champion Hasuji, I champion Indrajit. Going to Texas again in about two and half weeks for lessons before he flies back to Kolkatta. My drive is a bit more than yours, around 12 hours (Texas is BIG). But I consider it well worth it!