Words of Wisdom from your teacher

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randyh
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Words of Wisdom from your teacher

Post by randyh » Sun Aug 28, 2016 8:36 pm

Hi,

I think it would be interesting to hear some words of wisdom from your teachers both light and heavy. I know that many of you have some great teachers and experiences and it would be interesting to know the advice that really "stuck."

Two things from my teacher that I have always found interesting are:

1. It is better to play one thing such as a meend or murki well, then many things that don't have the quality.

This next one surprised me a bit:

2. Don't learn ragas from recordings, only from your teacher. Performers take liberties when performing and the pure form of the raga is often hidden or lost. The exception being RS and AAK.

I got this advice when I was working through something from VK and NB. I found this compelling and surprising.

Would love to hear from you guys, thanks.

trippymonkey
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Re: Words of Wisdom from your teacher

Post by trippymonkey » Mon Aug 29, 2016 9:04 am

Good advice BUT...
we never learn JUST from our immediate guruji-s anyway. May we assume ALWAYS what the guru teaches is pure, ALWAYS ????

I notice you didn't include U Vilayat Khan in the 'exemptions' !?!?!? :wink:
I think we can easily guess which style you play or certainly the one your teacher 'accepts' !!

Only ONE meend or murki well ?!?!?!
Bit of a boring performance eh ?!!?!?

Nick

trippymonkey
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Re: Words of Wisdom from your teacher

Post by trippymonkey » Mon Aug 29, 2016 9:11 am

To be honest, you can only really learn from recordings if you know what you're listening for, I feel.
A beginner wouldn't know what to look for anyway.
Is your english language only ever learnt from, say, your mother.?
At FIRST, yes but then.....

Nick

barend
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Re: Words of Wisdom from your teacher

Post by barend » Mon Aug 29, 2016 10:05 am

randyh wrote: 2. Don't learn ragas from recordings, only from your teacher. Performers take liberties when performing and the pure form of the raga is often hidden or lost. The exception being RS and AAK.
I don't agree with this at all. Of course it is better to learn a raga from a good teacher but there are things you learn from records that some teachers don't explain. I have had many teachers but I don't have a teacher right now and also don't want to anymore cause I am trying to find my own style now. Doing that for some years now and it feels kind of liberating I have to say after all those years of lessons. I have learned so much from records that no teacher ever told me.

I agree with Nick; you have to know what you are looking for and you have to have good ears. That means you have to have years of experience. Now I can easily learn a raga just from recordings. I listen to every recording I can find and take what I like. No matter what gharana or no matter what instrument or vocal.

But even for a beginner it can be good to learn from recordings besides having a teacher. The exercises you get in the first year or so can sound very static and not like the real thing. Playing along and listening to recordings can overcome that and make you play more 'loose'.

And one more thing: your teacher only tells you his view on the music. Which is fine but there are many other interesting things to learn from other players and styles as well.

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mahadev
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Re: Words of Wisdom from your teacher

Post by mahadev » Mon Aug 29, 2016 1:20 pm

In case of doubt listen to the exponents of the Dhrupad style. They take no liberties.
Maybe.

:D

Indian Music is a living thing . Unlike Western Classical where everything is more or less cast in stone, Indian Music is constantly evolving. Also different gharanas may have different ways of treating certain ragas.
Every great musican has his detractors.For example, Pandit Ravi Shankar has been accused of treating the sitar like a veena, Pandit Nikhil Banerjee of treating it like a sarod.
That may be true to some extent but does it matter ? On the contrary, is that not an indication that this music is constantly evolving ?
I love Western Classical, grew up with it, fantastic music but it is also a straightjacket.
In India great artists create new styles of their own. First it is avantgarde then it becomes classical.
Listen to PNB and PRS, you can recognise them immediately. Also UVK, but it is more difficult because there some very polished players of that school but you recognize the style within seconds.

You should not learn from recordings ? With all due respect, I beg to differ. If you learn from a teacher who learnt from say, UVK, will he tell you not to learn also from the records of the Ustad ? Surely not.
We are so lucky to have this amazing technology. Think about all the concerts you can attend at the touch of a button. Or you can ask a great master to play the same thing over and over again for you, a hundred times, until you get it.
:D
Ain't that great ?

Video is even better, especially when it comes to complex instruments . Carsten Wicke for instance,published many HD videos of Ustad Asad Ali Khan. Every veena player of the future will watch these, until the end of time. You can see exactly how he played.

Now these machines will fit into your shirt pocket. I used to schlepp a Uher reel machine around India.
Ah the good old days of AM radio in India. When you tuned in to a station there was no digital display telling you the artist and the raga so you had to guess. Great fun when the announcer came on at the end and you had it right.
There used to be a lot of classical on All India Radio. I remember the first time I ever heard Ustad Asad Ali Khan. In Bodhgaya, late at night under the stars, having a cup of chai . I still bless that chaiwalla and his radio. Bhageshree, no less.
Getting a bit sentimental now, will shut up.

:D

Anyway. Here is a toast to Edison and Marconi ! We owe them one !
http://maxflury.com/

randyh
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Re: Words of Wisdom from your teacher

Post by randyh » Mon Aug 29, 2016 2:18 pm

Hi,

I actually agree so sometimes I think I have to interpret what my teacher was meaning. Especially since he plays in more of the NB style and not RS anyway.

As for the first part (one murki), I think he is basically saying what is the point of doing a meend sngdgnrsnsn when your sns meend is not already perfected. I totally agree with this.

As for the second part, I think he was meaning that for a student, the great players often go to outer boundaries of the invisible skeleton of the raga. It seemed to mean to me that he meant that AAK and RS stay closer to the skeleton. Basically, he likely meant that as a student trying to interpret the true skeleton of the raga, it is best to understand it from a teacher and then see how the greats are using the structure to explore boundaries and this will actually enhance ones understanding and appreciation of UVK and NB and others.

Not only the music has room for interpretation, so does the philosophy and theory I suppose.

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nicneufeld
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Re: Words of Wisdom from your teacher

Post by nicneufeld » Wed Aug 31, 2016 7:19 pm

"the great players often go to outer boundaries of the invisible skeleton of the raga" --good way of putting it, I think. I still learn from recordings..."learn" being a subjective term I suppose. But repeated listenings of Vilayat Khan's Sohini, to pick one example at random, have taught me a lot more of the colour of the raag than say, this stuff on the internet (useful reference, admittedly):
Raga Sohini
Thaat Marwa
Samay Pre-dawn
Swaras Used Komal Rishabh, Tivra Madhyam, all other notes are Shuddha. Pancham is skipped.

Would I say I have "learned" Sohini or have been taught it properly by recordings? Nah, and I probably wouldn't play it for anyone (who remotely knew what to listen for...my cat can deal with hearing me stumble through raags). Recordings are a great reference, which is why our at-times caustic friend Mr. Parrikar has his site liberally seasoned with sample recordings. And they are an unimaginable luxury to us now, compared to in decades previous.

I'm learning in Imdadkhani style, and all my weekly lessons are recorded, starting back in 2011 with my ustad, as I recall. 5 years, my goodness. Anyway, I'm sure in all those recordings Ustadji has imparted to me many nuggets of wisdom, but it's hard to pull one from among them...right now the only thing jumping out at me is a rather funny epithet he had devised for a now quite prominent presidential candidate....that I probably can't share, out of deference to him, more's the pity... He has a good sense of humor!

seepersaudc
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Re: Words of Wisdom from your teacher

Post by seepersaudc » Wed Aug 31, 2016 7:37 pm

Great thread idea! Let's stick to quotes from teachers...

My first lessons had my teacher listening to me play from her livIng room while she was in the kitchen. She kept shouting "louder baba" and "I can't hear you" because my right hand was so weak. It developed good strength.

Another quote
"All your khatka khatka khatka is sloppy, use that sparingly, for a sweeter sound"

"Bageshree is a raag of longing and waiting"

"It's better to play one small repeating stayi with excellence, than a stayi Antara and Taans that are muddled and less than beautiful"

From a different teacher (who knows no English) when my rhythm was off... I said , "it's the Ga" (that was troubling me), she pointed to my FOOT and said "it's THAT"' meaning my tapping foot was losing the time.
She was right.

Pranam.

evening84
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Re: Words of Wisdom from your teacher

Post by evening84 » Wed Aug 31, 2016 8:21 pm

I lurk here from time to time from the Tabla Forum. Great thread.

A particular one that has stayed with me - I have forgotten who had shared it on RMIC many years ago. It was attributed to Sitar teacher saying "When we have so many beautiful gats, bandishes passed down to us , why do we have to feel the need to f#*@ the raaga with tihaai this and chakradhaar that" (or something to that effect).
My karma ran over your dogma
http://evening84.blogspot.com/

jaysitar22
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Re: Words of Wisdom from your teacher

Post by jaysitar22 » Wed Aug 31, 2016 11:02 pm

Not my direct teachers, but musicians and quotes that inspire me,

J.S. Bach
“What I have achieved by industry and practice, anyone else with tolerable natural gift and ability can also achieve.”

Jaco Pastorius
"Human beings have nothing to do with music. Music is in the air; you just have to pull it out."

Nikhil Banerjee
" I love music, it is endless, so the more you practice, the more you are in the Deep Ocean-you don't know where to go; you're in Space!"

Allaudin Khan
"Collect anything good thing, from any music, from anywhere in the world!"
"If a man follows the mind given him and makes it his teacher, then who can be without a teacher?"
“To be truly ignorant, be content with your own knowledge.”
-Chuang Tzu

JRJ
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Re: Words of Wisdom from your teacher

Post by JRJ » Thu Sep 01, 2016 2:43 pm

And "the better you get, the softer you can play". That woman, she was a really good teacher 8).
*j*
.~

barend
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Re: Words of Wisdom from your teacher

Post by barend » Thu Sep 01, 2016 3:57 pm

For all the Indian music traditionalist, strict gharana followers and fusion haters :D, my favorite Zappa quote:
“Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.”

trippymonkey
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Re: Words of Wisdom from your teacher

Post by trippymonkey » Thu Sep 08, 2016 9:58 pm

Yes but exactly is AWAY from the norm.?????

Balinese Gamelan music? Peruvian flute?

Nick

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nicneufeld
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Re: Words of Wisdom from your teacher

Post by nicneufeld » Fri Sep 09, 2016 5:51 pm

To follow a rabbit trail, whenever I get a bit too smug about people who don't or can't understand and appreciate ICM...I listen to Balinese gamelan music.

http://oriental-traditional-music.blogs ... trola.html

Gives me some perspective!

trippymonkey
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Re: Words of Wisdom from your teacher

Post by trippymonkey » Fri Sep 09, 2016 9:27 pm

Isn't it gorgeous & SOOOO rhythmn based ???

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