Studying the Tabla Learners

Dilip Mukherjee & Sanjoy Bandopadhyay

IML has been consistently studying the requirements of students with diverse objectives and aptitudes. While recapitulating the thoughts of our revered Gurus, earlier thinkers and with our current studies we find that some tabla learners are naturally good for solo tabla performances when most others are good for accompaniments. We see three types of students, (1) those wish to become successful performers and wish to give public performances widely, (2) many are interested in understanding the subject to the core and may be called as Amateurs and (3) there are many hobbyists those learn and play tabla for fun.

When trying to design lessons plan, we thought it a good idea to split the qualifies in different groups of students.  Here are  some of what we thought:

Descriptions Type 1: Concert artists Type2: Amateur performer
Type 3: Hobbyist
Tala High Moderate to High Low to High
Virtuosity High Moderate Optional
Layakari Moderate to high Low to Moderate Optional
Speed Mastery over Low to high Mastery over Low to medium Optional
Dynamics Required Optional Optional
High clarity & emphasis Required Optional Optional
High impact performance Required Optional Optional

For specialized soloists must have good knowledge and performance expertise of the traditional compositions.

Music Training of Students with Different Goal Sets

Sanjoy Bandopadhyay

Indian Music teachers receive students with their different goal sets. When a teacher tries to offer them tailor-made lessons to help them to achieve their goals early, such a teacher or Guru is surely a thoughtful teacher or Guru.

Any good planning effort must have some solid homework behind it. When we try thinking on effective music teaching we shall require to look at the deliverables. Let us first consider three major groups of students;

  1. those who wish to be professional performers
  2. to help the persons those are amateurs
  3. working with the hobbyists.

Now, we have to understand the required knowledge and performance levels of these three categories of music learners. Let us first try to define these three categories of learners.

  • A performer with his/her music should be able to enchant the audiences. This is possible with a right combination of dazzling virtuosity and artistic expressions.
  • An amateur with his/her music should be able to open up intellectual curiosity of the audiences. An amateur may be a highly knowledgeable person but may not attain the level of virtuosity that a professional possesses.
  • A hobbyist may like to able to play or sing in some way. A hobbyist may not have good performance acumen but should be able to enjoy their own practicing and appreciate master performances well, and so on.

So, when a performer must be able to perform very well but for them it is not necessary that they also possess huge amount of information regarding the music they perforom. For a performer a good degree of virtuosity level with good level of artistic expression are important. This is simply because the audiences naturally respond to higher virtuosity band but the general audience do not care much for pedantic musical applications. Here are some qualities of music performers [tonal instrumentalists and vocalists]:

Description Professional Amateur Hobbyist
Raga info Moderate High Low
Virtuosity High Moderate to high Low to high
Layakari Moderate to high Optional Optional
High Speed
High Moderate Optional
Dynamics Advised Optional Optional
High clarity and emphasis Required Moderate Optional
Long duration  performance ability Required Optional Optional
High Impact performance
Required Optional Optional