INDIAN MUSIC FORUM ARCHIVES: Sitar Forum: (slow) learning process


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(slow) learning process Aug 21, 2003 01:44 p.m.

Hi all!!
When I read several topics it becomes clear I'm in the priviliged position of studying under a great (and patient) teacher. I don't think I would actually have taken up the the instrument otherwise.... Just curious how do you guys learn and study? I'm also trying to figure out parts from recordings (actually right now I'm trying to tackle some parts from a Balaram Pathak-album, great player, not too overly virtuosic, otherwise I wouldn't even attempt to do it ) From what recordings do you guys study? My teacher is teaching me currently Kafi, but told me it was actually going to be an introduction of some sorts to Bhairavi. So I'm trying to get my hands on some Bhairavi-recordings. (Any recommendations?) I'm also afraid when copying recordings I might miss the big picture of a raga, (just a couple of riffs don't make me understand what a particulair raga is about).



Re:(slow) learning process Aug 21, 2003 03:37 p.m.

Hey Remco,
I'm learning kafi too. I'm struggling with alap right now (not sure what I'm supposed to play, I just play what ever I feel like right now My instructor tells me to just play alap. I think mostly to get used to the idea of a slow build up.
I'm not ready to copy any rag recording yet, maybe the odd riff though. I listen to RS Rag Jog from the CD 3 ragas. I don't even know how he gets those twinkling notes out.


Re:(slow) learning process Aug 21, 2003 04:01 p.m.

I just basically jam on the sitar but I do pick up things here and there. I really dont have the time to study seriously right now because I also play finger style guitar and I just recently formed a new band, so I got to bone up on my electric guitar again. Or I'm just to lazy to study, either one just choose.
Right now I've been listening to Indrajit Banerjee's "Ragas on sitar" cd over and over again.
I'll get to serious study soon but I think I'm doing ok right now. After all, I am the best sitar player in my town!
Jeffrey R King
Re:(slow) learning process Aug 21, 2003 04:30 p.m.

Ha ha. I know fer sure I'm the best sitar player in my town! Remco, only for practice I copy Dr. Suman Sharma's Rag Yaman (her CD is advertised at the bottom of the forum). Her playing is slow and simple enough to copy note for note. Indrajit would be very difficult to copy, so I don't try.
Re:(slow) learning process Sep 01, 2003 12:55 p.m.

Thanks for the heads up on Suman Sharma's CD. This is the first ICM recording I've listened to that left me thinking "yeah, I can probably do that some day."
Re:(slow) learning process Sep 01, 2003 04:16 p.m.

You bet. The thing I still grapple with is the fact that you can play Yaman a hundred different ways, and its still Yaman! That just doesn't sit comforably on my simple mind.
Re:(slow) learning process Sep 01, 2003 06:51 p.m.

First of all I am crazy, and overly obsessed with Dhrupad so I first of all practice in 3 hour blocks everyday, but it sometimes is in the evening, sometimes in the morning, just never know when. I study from recordings of Ustad Asad Ali Khan, particularally Darbari Kanada. My style has been very unique in that I have somehow incorporated vocal techniques into my instrument, and on occasion I put down my bina and just sing. My suggestion is to take one raga that you really like (that is if you already are very familiar with a few simplier ones) and study the recording inside out, in every manner possible, I only recently think I have got Darbari Kanada to a good point, and thats after 2 years of 3 hour practice everyday, and guidance from numerous musicians along the way.
Beenkar Ted Ceplina
Re:(slow) learning process Sep 01, 2003 11:58 p.m.

I listen to everything I can get my hands on, I read everything I can find, I watch everything I can mediawise, and I pester the living s**t out of anyone I can find that seems to really know anything!

I try to practice scalework diligently

That's gonna have to suffice for the time being for many reasons


Re:(slow) learning process Sep 02, 2003 11:17 a.m.

For the beginner, it is best to practice several different boles in all ten thaats. To do so with producing good clarity of tone and increasing speed will get you quickly familiar with your instrument and its capabilities. It will also "tune" your ear, hands and mind to the next step, which is producing actual music. There is enough complexity in doing palta scales to keep you going for many months. Get good at those first.
Re:(slow) learning process Sep 03, 2003 01:08 a.m.

Thanks Russ! yes, that makes alot of sense!

Since I finally have a tuning method that's working really well for me, it's like starting from scratch again........the kind soul who gave me this advice and knows his stuff told me my new mantra should be, I cannot run until I learn to walk", which is helping me massively, too, I'm feeling much more relaxed about it all and that is essential to any good and true music.
All those little things, such as consistancy in my mizrab strokes, not dragging my left thumb and such, are slowly getting better, as well !
I always take a bit of time to just play around too, I had so much fun working at Within Without You one evening (just the VERY simple one string MA version, chuckle chuckle) was SO fun, I didn't realize until after I'd given myself one whopper of a blister! But actually learned alot of things from just messing about with it.......

At present though, the various assorted rhythm patterns/strokes are my main priority......I guess I should maybe be making an effort to learn a different thaat, but it doesn't seem the most important thing, those rhythm/strokes really are what I am focusing on, primarily. I figure the cleaner they become, the better, then start to move forward a little more.....

Thanks so much for the encouragement!
Really does help!


Re:(slow) learning process Sep 03, 2003 12:03 p.m.

Sounds like a good plan. By all means, this should be fun. If it ceases to interest you, you're likely to blow it off altogether. Only the professional sitariyas go beyond us mere mortals, but their goals are obviously much higher. Yes, take your time. The masters say it takes a lifetime to get good. And it takes more than a lifetime to become a master. Fits in quite well with the idea of reincarnation, doesn't it? Next time you hear a true master, think about that one!
Re:(slow) learning process Sep 03, 2003 01:43 p.m.

Well my life time is half over so I guess it wont take as long to get good as it will some of you younger guys. Oiiioii
Jeffrey R King
Re:(slow) learning process Sep 03, 2003 01:46 p.m.

And with my luck,, I should be GREAT in a year or two!
Jeffrey R King
Re:(slow) learning process Sep 04, 2003 03:22 a.m.

Jeff (Sep 03, 2003 01:43 p.m.):
Well my life time is half over so I guess it wont take as long to get good as it will some of you younger guys. Oiiioii

Geez Jeff!

What a bundle of optimism and cheer there!
Sheeez! Man makes me not even wanna wake up tomarrow, thinkin' like that! heeheehee

I think I'll just stick to BSing myself and telling myself that I've still got half my life to go! The BEST years of my life, etc etc, heheh

Yes, thank God for the notion of reincarnation (I think! maybe not though!)
I might actually someday get the hang of it!

Feeling extremely feeble and older than Methusalah in WA,

Re:(slow) learning process Sep 04, 2003 12:09 p.m.

Jeff, you could be run over by a nut behind the wheel tomorrow and check out! Or be another Alludhin Khan and live to be more than 100. I'm getting to be a geezer, but the only time when I notice my age is when a kid calls me sir. I can't stand that. That one does make me feel old. I'm Russ and that's that. Don't like to use Russell, as that's the name my mom always used when she yelled at me 'cause she was angry at me for something. So, negative association. Billy, I guess we all have our storys, don't we?
Re:(slow) learning process Sep 04, 2003 01:23 p.m.

Yeah I remember when I was cool.
Now according to my son and his friends, I'm that grumpy bastard sitting on the couch playing that strange looking guitar and yelling when I dont see their way as my way.
In all honesty I'm a very nice and likable guy but some of the teenagers that hang out here at my house are scared to death of me for some reason. And the only time I actually yell is when I cant get Frankie (my son, 20 years old) to do the yard work.
Jeffrey R King
Re:(slow) learning process Sep 04, 2003 07:14 p.m.


I'm 43 and STILL WAY COOL! heheh!
Little beggars are always hittin me up to teach 'em how to play this or that, so still got a small measure of "coolness" goin', heheh

Am VERY handy at chewin' their extremities like a bisquit though, when warranted! Can be quite scary when the occasion calls for it!

Yep, can relate Russ, about the worst is when some dipstick calls me "ma'am", makes me wanna go ballistic! That doesn't happen TOO often though...usually on the phone, telemarketers, thank God for that list/law thing they came up with......always think "I'll "ma'am" yer ***, ya little blankety blank!" heeheehee

Welp aging's a fact of life......but I don't intend to roll over and die anytime soon, still way too much good jams to listen and play, too!
I refuse to buy into this "old" crap, even though the ol' bod and it's aches and pains tries to remind me each and every day.......I won't go easily into that great night or however the heck it goes............

FTS!!!!! heehee

hobbling along painfully!

Re:(slow) learning process Sep 04, 2003 11:35 p.m.

AJ? YOU'RE A GIRL!?!?!?.
I didnt know that! Who knew that? When this happen? Why didnt anybody tell me ?..

Well since we're off topic here and talkng about old age and mortality theres a good book I just read (twice) called "The Holographic Universe" by Michael Talbot.
It basically deals with the idea that all we see and know is illusory and our concept of our physical self is wrong.
That we had a pre life, this life and we will have an after life. He deals with NDE's (near death experience) and the past life thing among alot of other stuff.
The subject may sound strange but I highly recommend this book.
Let me bore you for a minute with one chapter of my life here. A little over a year ago around july 2002 I became very ill, I thought I was going to die. I was in a hospital for 15 days, thats how bad it was. And I was terrified that my end was near, but I pulled through. Anyway after I was out of the hospital I was still scared about dieing and it was consuming my every thought day and night for a few months. I was basically freaking out.
I never really thought of this life after death stuff before until I read this book and it set my mind at ease. But,,, this is not a religious book in anyway.

I think you people on this forum will enjoy this book so try to get it if you can.
Well thats it about that. But if you read this book you'll thank me for it.

Re:(slow) learning process Sep 05, 2003 12:46 a.m.

I've heard of that book. Just might check it out now. Thanks.
Well, this whole thing about reality being illusion is a classic topic. Kind of like "The Matrix" thing, huh? Row, row, row your boat, life is but a dream. A whole bunch of renaissance philosophers offered that idea many centuries ago. And then there was Buddha who laid it out a really long time ago. Oh well, I guess we'll all find that out someday.
Re:(slow) learning process Sep 05, 2003 01:06 a.m.

Yep, Jeff!
Yeah, at least the last time I was in the can and checked! heehee

I didn't have any sisters, only 2 older brothers, so spent alot of time around them and their cronies.........then my ex husband was a construction dude, so spent some REAL quality time in the ol' tavern with him and his crew, learned oodles from that as well! heheh

So I guess a bit of an oddball, never did go in much for PTA or that sorta stuff.........

Next life though, I'm most definately coming back a male! Think it'd be way kewler! Alot less work, too!

See, now ya just never know, do ya?! haha

Shoulda just kept my mouth shut but my give-a-sh****r is broke here lately! haha

See ya round like a speculum!haha!

Re:(slow) learning process Sep 05, 2003 01:11 a.m.

oops, meant to add it sounds a great deal like the Hindu stuff I've been studying steadily since Oct. 99.......good stuff, that!
Re:(slow) learning process Sep 05, 2003 10:03 a.m.

Yes, Talbot draws alot from Hindu thinking. And from the Australian aboriginies, like their idea of "Dream Time" and ideas from Tibet.
The book also covers brain function,
something called "holographic audio",
vision as a hologram,
light theories and even UFO's which was very interesting.
Again I say,,, Read this book.

And AJ, theres nothing wrong with being a girl, after all my wife is one!

Jeffrey R King
Re:(slow) learning process Sep 05, 2003 11:24 a.m.

Actually, I'm glad to hear there's a female on this forum. Get a little different point of view now. I knew a gal somewhere had to of picked up a sitar and found this place too.
Re:(slow) learning process Sep 05, 2003 05:32 p.m.


don't ya remember what Bobby Dylan said?

"ain't no use in talkin' to me, it'd be the same as talkin' to you!"

I can't see as it makes any difference, myself!
But what the hey.........

I thought Jette was female too???
maybe as usual, I don't know what I'm talking about! haha
For me, that's just par for course!

I wish I'd just kept my mouth shut
who cares!?!

Anyways, Happy Ganesha Chaturthi all!

See ya round like a rudrashka!

Re:(slow) learning process Sep 05, 2003 07:31 p.m.

Spookyjune, OK. Wow, I haven't heard that Dylan tune is a looooooong time, around 1963 or so? Well, maybe you're right about all that. I'd assumed the same about Jette as well, but I don't know either. I did ask on here about two years ago if there were any female sitarjis lurking. No answer. Well, just good to know its not just all guys here. OK, I'm out of here for a week of intensive lessons. Be back online after that.
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