The learning process

Sarode and Hindustani music instruction via Skype

Have you always wanted to learn an Indian classical instrument, or even more specifically, the sarode, but not ventured to do so because you were intimidated by the thought of owing your life and more to a guru who may then decide to teach you, or not? Are you being entertained by stories of celestials and demons playing the instrument of your choice during the creation of the universe, when you could, instead, entertain yourself by playing it to the best of your abilities? I offer a solution to your needs.

I am a sincere teacher, but am your friend and mentor rather than a guru in the traditional, cultish sense. However, this is not a no-strings relationship. The work you put in, under my guidance, is built up over time, and there is a clearly defined method that takes you step by step towards competence on the Sarode. There will be times when you feel you are doing well, and at other times, you will feel you are making no progress at all. My role is to provide lots of information, both in terms of matter and how to execute it, in a friendly way. All the same, I will not mince my words if I have to let you know the truth, however brutal, about where you stand and how you can improve your playing habits.

If you cringe about having to practice more than 20 minutes a day, you should not even think of playing the sarode. This instrument needs focused practice of at least an hour a day if you are to get anywhere with it. A focused hour a day along with good pitch recognition and cultivated coordination of the two hands will lead you to a level of pleasing competence in under a year. However, do not expect to play like a master in two years. Some will, and some won't, just like it is with any other discipline.

I am available to teach in Toronto and the rest of North America throughout the year, and in India in the winter. However, I teach up to 4 classes every day via Skype, regardless of my location, and will be happy to discuss this way of learning. It is quite effective.

Here is how I see my role:

  1. Providing you with information and methods to build your technique.

  2. Providing you with exercises and letting you record every session.

  3. Providing you with written transcriptions of every exercise, composition and taan.

  4. Focusing on efficiency of technique and its acquisition.

  5. Focusing on adherence to each raga in letter and in spirit.

  6. Giving you frank, critical feedback when needed/asked for.

  7. Showing you how to optimize your practice habits so that you can get the most out of every minute spent on practice.

  8. Listening to your needs carefully before offering solutions.

Your role, as I see it:

  1. Practicing every exercise taught, divided into sets, for a sum total of at least an hour a day.

  2. Keeping track of the number of classes, and maintaining accurate record of notes provided.

  3. Remembering what is taught and executing it.

  4. Asking questions when something is unclear, and not hesitating to ask again and again.

  5. Suggesting alternate ways to execute an idea or pattern if you find a way that suits you more than something I have taught.

  6. Listening carefully before attempting to play.

  7. Keeping it real and not getting swayed by airy-fairy literature on Indian music.

arnabsarod        arnabsarod@ymail.com

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