INDIAN MUSIC FORUM ARCHIVES: Sitar Forum: Sitar Lesson Scheduled!


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Sitar Lesson Scheduled! May 16, 2003 01:09 p.m.

As is probably the case with most of us on this forum, I do not have a teacher anywhere near where I live. However, based on a suggestion from Russ, I got in touch with Hasu Patel through her Website. Although it's a four-hour drive, it's within reach and I will be going up for a lesson on June 1. (I will have a fresh new Ma string from Lars' store on my instrument!) I have also ordered her CD. I am super excited! She said we'd work for at least two hours to compensate for the fact that I can't really get up to her place more than a few times a year. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to get the most out of these limited encounters?
Re:Sitar Lesson Scheduled! May 16, 2003 06:07 p.m.

Yea! I have her CD. An interesting and unusual gayaki style, very expressive (but IMHO, I think she could use a better quality sitar to get the best out of her playing). Be glad your drive is only 4 hours. Mine is over 14.

I'm sure she has developed a program for those whose time is limited. I call it the boot camp crash course. But she will probably ask you about your expectations, so you will need to be thinking about what you will want to be able to do in the long run. The program will be based primarily on that.

The basic exercises are the first set of lessons for everybody. Those are proper sitting and playing position, clean note production (Her gharana uses the alternating finger techniques from Vilayat Khan), then the paltas and murchanas (scales and note patterns)along with bols(striking and picking technique), done within a laya (rythmn) and without. She will listen to you, and if you progress very quickly, she will too. If there is time, ask her to show you some simple gats in your favorite raag. That part is a lot of fun. I did all this within 4 and a half concentrated days last year in Austin Tx. Not the standard way of learning, but it is do-able. So, good luck to you!

Re:Sitar Lesson Scheduled! May 16, 2003 09:38 p.m.

I travel 2 hours each way, and do that 2-3 times per month. No Biggie. I think you should be able to travel 4 hours each way at least once monthly. My teacher will not write anything down, he makes me bring a little tape recorder and I use that. I recommend the same, have your teacher record for you excercises, gats, variations etc -more than you think you'll ever be able to practice, so then when your at home you'll have plenty to work on.

PS How do most teachers teach, IOW do most techers write out gats, tans etc for the student or not?


Re:Sitar Lesson Scheduled! May 16, 2003 09:59 p.m.

I have seen a red sitar like that once before, anyone know the maker?
Re:Sitar Lesson Scheduled! May 17, 2003 02:02 a.m.

Hey Bob.....I would suggest video taping if you can.....or at least audio taping but video is better!
Neal, I have put your teachers bio up on the site...2 hours is not too bad except for the NH tolls...


Re:Sitar Lesson Scheduled! May 17, 2003 08:16 a.m.

Video is really nice, i had did so the last sessions with my teacher before he moved to italy. To de able to see anh hear even without instructions you can go a looong way. Just listening is more difficult. i never underestimate the power of visual communication.


Re:Sitar Lesson Scheduled! May 18, 2003 01:01 p.m.

Hi Bob. I took a lesson from Hasu Patel about a year ago when she was out here in L.A. I found her to be excellent. She is very patient and aims to please. She really enjoys teaching. She had brought
out an old Hiren Roy to California that Vilayat Khan had given to her, but I did ask her about the
red sitar. She told me she had it custom made for
her many many years ago in a shop in Vadodara
called B.C. Mistry and sons, and didn't know if it
was still in existence or not. It would be interesting
to know if it still is. Hope this info is of some assistance, Mark
Re:Sitar Lesson Scheduled! May 18, 2003 02:47 p.m.

Agreed - I would not recommend just an "measly" audio recorder. A visual recorder is important to get the right/left hand use properly.


Re:Sitar Lesson Scheduled! May 18, 2003 07:00 p.m.

With some individual variations, there is the skeletal system that many writers use. I think most teachers nowdays use it too. The traditional gurus probably don't use it. But in the beginning, it might be good to understand it. That way, when you read an article or book written by someone else, explaining how a particular tune is played, you will understand it, and might be able to play it yourself. Without a teacher in sight! Only difference is that this is a communication tool only, not identical to or same purpose as western staff notation.
Re:Sitar Lesson Scheduled! May 20, 2003 01:41 p.m.

Thanks everybody for your comments! One other great thing about Hasu Patel: she is willing to schedule my lessons on the weekend so I don't get caught up in trying to juggle work schedule vs. lesson schedule vs. vacation days remaining in the year!
Re:Sitar Lesson Scheduled! May 20, 2003 02:42 p.m.

Sounds good Bob. Have fun.

From my experience, its best if somebody else is running and monitoring the video recorder. I tried to sit and learn, plus run the recorder at the same time. Getting up and running back and forth. There were times we were heavy into getting a note or run just right, and the camera had run out of tape. Missed it. Or we moved out of the view field working on something tuning or stringing or something else, and so plenty of footage of a damn floor! And then the battery died. Yippie! So, try and get someone else to do that work.

Re:Sitar Lesson Scheduled! May 21, 2003 02:40 p.m.


I see the problem you are describing. I have used a tripod and started the the recording with a shot of my teacher well sentered in the wiewfinder.
Movement can be a problem, but for me it worked out just fine.
If you want to get close up to the string action, the you might have a problem. but if you play back on a normalsized tv-set a tripodshot will do the trick. And if you start out with a blank tape, and a power supply for the camera or fully loaded batteries, you are good to go. som planning with lights can be usefull so that you are shure that what you want to see dont drown in the shadows bad lighting situations may produce.

Allso setting the camera in manual focus will free you for the power consuming autofocus that will try to keep whatever you are rercording in focus all the time. This can extend batterylife alot. And whit movement i really dont see a problem with manuel focus. The sitarist will be sitting on more or less the same spot during the raga. If you get good lighting you can work with a depth of field that will geep everything within a given distance to the lens, in perfect focus all the time.

anyway, i hope im not getting to tecnical here. There are loads of info on the net about this. try as a start if you need more detailed information.


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