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College Talk Sep 23, 2003 09:30 a.m.

Hi I have been asked to give a lecture on Tabla to a class of music student´┐Żs age from 16 to 18. I am no master but have been learning it for a number of years. One music tutor has asked me to talk about Tabla for her world music module.

Any ideas of how any of you guys would go on about tackling this. I am quite nervous but would like to show the students how wonderful this instrument is. What would you guys show in presenting this topic? For those who have already done this what created the most interest from students.

Re:College Talk Sep 23, 2003 05:37 p.m.

sounds exciting... I think students would appreciate any sort of demonstration, so obviously playing the tabla would mesmerize them the most.
First I think it would be important to describe what it is made from and the difference between the two drums, the role of the instrument in the musical tradition as both accompaniment and solo (you may not need to discuss north vs. south, a bit too much for high schoolers with short attention). Stress that the rhythmic form (tal/meter)is important but that it is mostly improvised, which is completely different from western percussion.

I think it would have been interesting to know (when I was that age) that there is no "right" way to play given all the different gharanas and blends thereof, so style is highly variable. Also that it is taught one on one and passed down for generations from the mughal courts in India, it is a well established form (I would compare it to their conception of Western classical music, to give an idea of the time scale) and not just anyone plays what they want.

So then give a breakdown of all the possible bols that you know along with the names, just to give an idea of the versatility. I think it would be useful to speak the patterns first so they know it corresponds to something meaninful and not just random playing, some people have a hard time with this type of rhythm... Maybe speak and then play tintal or something more interesting like a kaida or rela slowly so they can see the pattern, then speed up or add accents to show that it is not a fixed pattern. Then just show off! I think they would enjoy that the most. Maybe even let them know if you or someone else offers lessons and where to buy tablas if anyone is really interested, if anyone asks you this I would say you were quite successful... Your job is to inspire, no need to be nervous, just have fun!


Re:College Talk Sep 24, 2003 04:57 a.m.

Thanks for the advice, I think im going to write the tal's on a over head projection screen so they can follow what bol is played and on what beat(matra). Then i will do the same for a kaida & Rela.

I just want to push across that you dont just slap the drums with anything that comes to your head. But i want to show there is so much logic, structure and thought that has gone in to rythmitic cycles for tabla.

Re:College Talk Sep 24, 2003 12:40 p.m.

May be one way to start is giving them a overview of different indian musical instruments, playing simultaneously with tabla and coordination. Some students may focus on these instruments too..... Just a thought.
Re:College Talk Sep 24, 2003 03:38 p.m.

Maybe you could even make photocopies (depending on your budget) so you could pass them out and show everyone how to say the bols. That would be fun to recite as a class, and then I'm sure they'd be amazed what they sound like when actually played, and they would have a better understanding by actually reciting the patterns themselves. when working with kids they need to interact otherwise they feel they are just being lectured and they won't have as much interest. when is your presentation? let us know how it goes...
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