How long do I require to practice to play the sitar nicely?

A part of the process of achieving mastery in music somewhat matches sports and athletics. As in athletics, you must go for certain practices to retain or achieve your needed mobility; the same applies to music. A music student requires to devote some time regularly to gain mastery over their instruments. The system of practicing changes with the developments in a student. However, the time distribution and practicing material distributions are different at different stages of development.

The Guru designs the practicing plans or riyAz details for the students. An intelligently designed riyAz plan can give surprising results to the students in serious Guru designs the practicing plans or riyAz details for the students. An intelligently designed riyAz plan can give surprising results to the students in earnest pursuit. At the initial and intermediate levels, the riyAz focus rests on virtuosity development. Later, when a student becomes advanced, the focus may shift to creativity and musicality.

Time and Expected Results for Starting Students

Recommended practice time: 6 days a week. 1 to 3 hours a day. 

  • The approximate total time with focused practising is 100 hours to achieve Level-I

A Level-1 Student is expected to have:

  • preliminary understanding of handling the sitar
  • develop a sense of pitch and the ability to repeat any given reference note.
  • develop some sense of time and rhythm

Can I learn sitar online?

A quick answer is, “Yes, you can learn sitar online.” Online has all the tools to teach you except by touching you, and it is similar to learning sitting in the same room where Guru is present.

You can surely learn how to play the sitar, the left-hand techniques, the right-hand techniques, a raga in detail with compositions, and so on. A slight hitch on online learning is for the absolute starters who are not comfortable identifying notes by listening. When you learn in the old system, your Guru can help in tuning your sitar. This is especially helpful for beginners and young kids who are yet to develop the sense of svaras.

My suggestion is a student should learn Vocal Music before actually beginning sitar playing. The new music student should make efforts to understand svaras and the simple rhythmic plays. There are simple exercises that quickly develop the sense of pitch and rhythm. 

A student usually develops the required minimum level of understanding of svara and laya within three months. After this, the students can start their efforts to tune the sitar and begin learning the basic techniques of sitar playing. Another three months of systematic efforts should make the student ready to toy with a rAga. 

Pandit Sanjoy Bandopadhyay | Kolkata | October 18, 2021

How to Quickly Go for Your First Concert: Faster Raga Learning

Time has changed, Indian Classical Music pedagogy has considerably evolved leading to much faster raga learning. Now students with systematic training and efforts can start rendering a raga quickly. Indian Music Lessons [IML], with about two decades of online teaching journey, has successfully evolved a highly effective methodology for training music students and train them in the traditional raga renderings.  Now a sitar student can attain enough virtuosity much more quickly and start or vocal giving raga recitals. Here are some important stages a student should complete to be able to give a raga performance.

  1. Understanding the time [laya]

    Some rhythmic practices with clapping and recitations can help to develop an understanding of rhythmic plays. Please see some simple exercises below. Click to visit simple laya exercise. This is an important exercise before you actually go for raga learning.

  2. Tuning the upper strings of a Sitar

    You may tune your sitAr to C# or D as the tonic.
    The tuning method in two different string arrangements.
    Tuning 1 [G-P type | gAndhAr pancam sitAr ]
    6 strings:  main string to M1 | second peg: No string | Third peg: S1 | Fourth peg: G (generally) | Fifth peg: P1 [generally] | 6th peg: S | 7th peg S’
    Tuning 2 | khaRaj-pancam sitar]
    7 strings: main string to M1 | second peg: S1 | Third peg: P1 [generally] | Fourth peg: S2 | Fifth peg: P1 [generally] | 6thpeg: S | 7th peg S’
    You may use a digital tuner to tune your sitar. When you recognize the relative lower and higher pitches, you should be able to generally tune your sitar. To be able to tune your sitar very nicely may require considerable time. However, it is good to start your efforts for tuning your instrument to be able to make raga learning a pleasing experience.

  3. General techniques of sitar playing

    You will be able to play the sitar after achieving some level of mastery on both your right hand and left hand and their good coordination. To achieve this, you require to practice exercises for your right hand and left hand. 

  4. Learning to play a rAga

    There are many variations of ragas. You will start with a raga with simple movements, learn the raga basics. You will learn the first ten ragas where memorization will play an important role. But, gradually, with advancements in music improvisation will take the main stage.  
    Your first raga lessons will usually include the general details of the rAga, e.g. arohan, avarohan, calan, followed by a drut gat with sthAyI, manjhA and antarA, some tAna and finally jhAlA to be ended by an ending tAna. Click to know a rAga.

  5. Understanding the tAla on the tablA

    It is almost a rule of thumb that a student first learns the 16-mAtrA tintAla. After learning the basic structures the students will require to be able to recite the tAla with clapping. After this the students will be exposed to recognize the tablA sounds depicting different tAla syllables. It requires some practice before a student becomes comfortable playing with the tAla-cycle on the tablA.

Ragamala Painting

पंडित संजय बंदोपाध्याय

वर्तमान में सिक्किम विश्वविद्यालय में प्रोफेसर के पद पर कार्यरत पंडित संजय बंदोपाध्याय, पूर्व में रबीन्द्र भारती विश्वविद्यालय, कोलकाता में उस्ताद अलाउद्दीन खां चेयर प्रोफेसर के पद पर कार्यरत रहे हैं | आप एस.एम्.टैगोर सेंटर फॉर डॉक्यूमेंटेशन एंड रिसर्च इन लिन्गुइशिन्ग एंड ओब्सोलेसेंट म्यूजिकल इंस्ट्रूमेंट्स  [SMTC-DRLOMI] के संस्थापक एवं  निदेशक भी हैं| 
प्रोफेसर बंदोपाध्याय को यूजीसी एवं भारत सरकार द्वारा कई विश्वविद्यालयों के एक सलाहकार सदस्य के रूप में नामित किया गया है , साथ ही कई राष्ट्रीय और अंतर्राष्ट्रीय अनुसंधान परियोजनाओं में आपका सक्रिय योगदान रहा है। वैश्विक स्तर पर संयुक्त राज्य अमेरिका, कनाडा, यूरोपीय और अफ्रीकी देशों के शीर्ष विश्वविद्यालयों एवं  संगठनों में शैक्षणिक और कलात्मक दोनों क्षेत्रों में आपकी व्यापक उपस्थिति उल्लेखनीय है। आपकी उपलब्धियों में  फ़िनलैंड में यूनेस्को वैश्विक सम्मेलन में उनकी “प्लेनरी सत्र” की भागीदारी, उर्जाना के यूनिवर्सिटी ऑफ़ इलिनोइस में “जॉर्ज ए मिलर विजिटिंग प्रोफेसर”, शिकागो विश्वविद्यालय में “आर्टिस्ट इन रेजिडेंस”, अलबर्टा विश्वविद्यालय में प्रतिष्ठित “इंडिया फोकस विजिटर” एवं  सैस्कैचेवान विश्वविद्यालय में द्विपक्षीय भारत-कनाडा सम्मेलन प्रमुख हैं|

पंडित संजय बंदोपाध्याय ने सेनिया-शाहजहाँपुर, इमदादखानी और रामपुर-सेनिया घरानों की समृद्ध वादन शैलियों  का व्यापक प्रशिक्षण प्राप्त किया है। संगीत जगत के इन तीन अति प्रसिद्ध घरानों  की परम्पराओं एवं  ज्ञान का एक सुंदर संश्लेषण उनके सितार वादन में अनुभव किया जा सकता है।

आपकी सांगीतिक शिक्षा, पिता पं. पीयूष प्रसन्न बंदोपाध्याय के मार्गदर्शन में आरम्भ हुई । तत्पशचात् आपने पंडित राधिका मोहन मित्रा और पंडित बिमलेंदु मुखर्जी के अधीन सितार वादन का गहन प्रशिक्षण प्राप्त किया। आपको पंडित मानस चक्रवर्ती और डॉ. एम. आर. गौतम से भी संगीत शिक्षा गृहण करने का सुअवसर प्राप्त हुआ। साथ ही आप प्रोफेसर ध्रुव तारा जोशी, पंडित अजय सिन्हा रॉय, पंडित गजानन राव जोशी और पंडित शंकर घोष जैसे विद्वानों के सहज कृपापात्र रहे हैं|

आप आकाशवाणी के टॉप ग्रेड सितार वादक हैं एवं राष्ट्रीय और अंतर्राष्ट्रीय स्तर पर आपकी लगभग एक दर्जन से अधिक व्यवसायिक रिकॉर्डिंग्स उपलब्ध हैं। भारत की RPG-HMV एवं अमेरिकी कम्पनी इंडिया आर्काइव म्यूज़िक लि॰ जैसी विख्यात कम्पनियों द्वारा आपके सी॰डी॰ प्रकाशित किए गए हैं। आपने भारत, अमेरिका, कनाडा, साउथ अफ़्रीका एवं यूरोपीय देशों के प्रमुख संगीत समारोहों एवं अनेक प्रतिष्ठित मंचों पर प्रस्तुति दी है।
गुरु के रूप में पंडित बंदोपाध्याय ने उत्कृष्ट  शिष्य वृन्द का सृजन  किया है; जिनमें से कुछ ने भारतीय शास्त्रीय संगीत के क्षेत्र में ख्यातिलब्ध कलाकारों की सूचि में उल्लेखनीय स्थान प्राप्त किया है। आपके शिष्यों में सर्वप्रमुख नाम श्री कुशल दास [सितार] का है,  जो अंतर्राष्ट्रीय स्तर के सितार वादक के रूप में अपनी पहचान बना चुके हैं। अन्य शिष्यों में सुश्री राजरूपा चौधरी, उत्कृष्ट  सरोद वादिका, 14 वर्षीय विलक्षण बाल प्रतिभा आयुष घोष, उदयीमान सितार वादक श्री कल्याणजीत दास, प्रतिभावान युवा सरोद वादिका सुश्री त्रोइली  दत्ता और युवा बांसुरी वादक श्री पाँचजन्य  डे उल्लेखनीय हैं। आपके सान्निध्य में  अन्य उदयीमान कलाकार भी प्रगति पथ पर अग्रसर  हैं।
अनुलेखन : डॉ प्रज्ञा प्यासी 

भारतीय निवासियों के लिए

IML की ओर से भारतीय निवासियों के लिए विशेष सुविधा का प्रावधान किया जा रहा है। श्रेष्ठ एवं प्रख्यात गुरुओं के सानिध्य में दूरस्थ शिक्षण पद्धति से सांगीतिक शिक्षण गृहण करने को तत्पर भारतीय निवासियों के लिए IMLने नवीन वातायन का सृजन किया है। वर्ष 2002 से संगीत के दूरस्थ शिक्षण का मार्ग प्रशस्त करने वाली प्रथम प्रणेता के रूप में के  माध्यम से मुख्य रूप से भारत के बाहर निवास कर रहे छात्रों को प्रशिक्षित किया जा रहा था। इस मंच पर पिछले डेढ़ दशकों में भारतीय शास्त्रीय संगीत अर्थात् सितार, सरोद, तबला, गायन [ख्याल, ठुमरी] एवं बांसुरी के भिन्न स्तर के छात्रों को सफलता पूर्वक शिक्षण प्रदान किया गया है । IML के छात्रों के प्रदर्शन वीडियो आप वेबसाइट के बाएँ साइड PERFORMANCES टेब पर क्लिक करके देख सकते हैं। 

विगत समय में भारत के विभिन्न भागों से छात्रों का में रुझान देखते हुए भारतीय निवासियों को IML के छात्र के रूप में अंगीकृत करने की सुविधा प्रदान की जा रही है। IML  भारत में  निवासरत उन सभी छात्रों को आत्मसात् करने को तत्पर है जो (1) सितार या सरोद की बुनियादी तकनीकों को जानते हैं, और (2) किसी भी वाद्य यंत्र के उच्च स्तरीय शिक्षण हेतु योग्यता रखते हों।  इन सभी को सुविख्यात सितार वादक पंडित संजय बंदोपाध्याय द्वारा प्रशिक्षित  किया जाएगा।  IMLद्वारा गायन, बांसुरी, एवं तबले के आरम्भिक एवं मध्य स्तर के छात्रों को भी स्वीकार कर रहा है, जिन्हें अन्य गणमान्य संगीतज्ञों द्वारा शिक्षण प्रदान किया जाएगा।

प्रशिक्षण हेतु प्रत्येक सप्ताह एक सत्र निर्धारित किया गया है, जिसकी अवधि आवश्यकतानुसार या  लगभग 30 मिनट की होगी। छात्रों के अनुरोध पर साप्ताहिक, पाक्षिक एवं मासिक कक्षाओं का विकल्प भी रखा गया है परंतु उचित प्रगति हेतु साप्ताहिक सत्र की ही अनुशंसा की जाती है।

छात्रों से अनुरोध है कि सत्र छोड़ने या पुनर्निर्धारित करने के लिए कम से कम एक दिन की पूर्व सूचना अवश्य दें, अन्यथा, उन छूटे हुए सत्रों को एक पूर्ण सत्र के रूप में गिना जाएगा। इंटरनेट या अन्य अवांछित समस्याओं के कारण अचानक व्यावधान उत्पन्न होने पर  छात्र या शिक्षक, जो भी प्रभावित होंगे, फोन पर संवाद स्थापित  कर सत्र पूर्ण किया जाएगा । 

  • यदि आप IMLमें शामिल होने के लिए इच्छुक हैं तो कृपया अंत में दिए गए फॉर्म को पूरा करके जमा करें। 
गुरु सत्रों की संख्या शुल्क प्रति सत्र मासिक शुल्क 
पं॰ संजय बंदोपाध्याय साप्ताहिक 10004000
पं॰ संजय बंदोपाध्याय पाक्षिक 12502500
पं॰ संजय बंदोपाध्याय मासिक 15001500
अन्य गुरु साप्ताहिक 7002800
अन्य गुरु पाक्षिक 8501700
अन्य गुरु मासिक 10001000

छात्रों के अनुरोध पर साप्ताहिक सत्रों के साथ पाक्षिक  या मासिक सत्र का भी विकल्प दिया जा रहा है।

सभी से अनुरोध है कि IMLकी कार्य प्रणाली समझने के लिए वेब साइट को ब्राउज़ करें। अपनी रुचि व्यक्त करने के लिए कृपया नीचे दिया गया फ़ॉर्म भरें। इसके पश्चात IMLकार्यालय द्वारा आपको बैंक विवरण बताया जाएगा ताकि आप शुल्क जमा कर सकें। इस पूरी प्रक्रिया में 3-4 दिन का समय लग सकता है जिसमें सत्र शेड्यूलिंग, स्काइप एवं फेसटाइम विवरण का आदान-प्रदान करना आदि शामिल है। द्वारा कई मंचीय कलाकारों एवं अव्यावसायिक विद्यार्थियों को प्रशिक्षित किया गया है। IML के गुरु,छात्रों को उत्कृष्ट संगीतकारों के रूप में  प्रशिक्षित कर  संगीताकाश में एक जवाजालयमान नक्षत्र के रूप में  प्रकाशमान करने  के लिए  प्रयासरत एवं प्रतिबद्ध  हैं । यदि आपके अंदर सांगीतक प्रतिभा है, तो IML के सान्निध्य में उसे अवश्य तराशें।

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    अनुलेखन : डॉ प्रज्ञा प्यासी 

    Save on Fees: IML Starts Group Music Classes

    IML has started music classes in groups too. Students are welcome to join in small groups of 2, 3, or 4. The requirement is, the students in a group should possess similar levels of understanding of Hindustani Raga Music, all the students are either vocal music students or instrumental music students, and preferably from the same time zone. IML understands that there are several advantages in a group class besides the students individually will be able to considerably save on fees.

    • A student receives the opportunity to observe each other.
    • They receive the opportunity of post-learning group discussions and exchanges.
    • IML teacher will provide the same learning material to all the students in the group.
    • But, the teacher will look into individual needs. 
    • The time distribution will be as under:

    The stated durations are approximate duration distribution

    Total studentsLast lesson review [mins.]New lesson [mins.]New lesson support [mins.]Total [mins]
    0210×2=20 1015×2=3060

    IML will use the Skype platform for group classes. Please go to the Fees page for the fee chart.

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      India residents

      हिंदी में देखें window

      Learn Indian Classical Music Online: Hearty Welcome to India Resident Students!

      Indian residents will receive special facilities for pursuing as an IML student. Indian Music Lessons [IML] has opened a new window for the Indian residents. Since 2002, the pioneer in Online Indian Music Teaching, the IML only offered its services to the students who were away from India. It teaches Indian Classical Music, i.e., sitar, sarod, tabla, vocal music [khyal, thumri] and flute online for more than one and a half-decade.  We have been receiving queries from many corners of India showing interest in IML. This guided us to consider how we can open this new window. Finally, this is open to serve the students residing in India.

      Indian Music is preparing musicians for concert challenges and creating new musicians. YOU are a MUSICIAN; discover it!

      All students welcome  – Beginners to Advanced

      IML warmly welcomes Indian resident students those (1) know the basic techniques of sitar or sarod, and (2) advanced student of any instrument. Your teacher will be Pandit Sanjoy Bandopadhyay, the renowned sitar maestro. IML is also accepting beginners and intermediate Vocal, Flute and Tabla students. The vocal, flute and tabla students will receive lessons from the IML teachers.

      The lesson duration will be as required and around 30 mins. IML recommends the students once a week session for best results.

      The students may NOT miss any session without prior intimation, otherwise, those sessions may be counted as a completed session. In case of a sudden drop in the Internet and other unseen problems, the students or the teacher, whoever will be affected, will communicate with the other end on the phone. The session would be considered as dropped or completed as mutually agreed.

      Fees details

      Fees Structure from September 16, 2021

      TeacherNumber of classesFees per classMonthly fees 
      Pt. Sanjoy BandopadhyayOnce a week10004000
      Pt. Sanjoy BandopadhyayAlternative week classes12502500
      Pt. Sanjoy BandopadhyayOnce a month15001500
      Other teachersOnce a week7002800
      Other teachersAlternative week classes8501700
      Other teachersOnce a month10001000
      Note: The dispatched fees should get reflected at receiver end at least two days ahead of the start-date of the sessions.All are requested to browse through the site and understand how IML works. Please complete the form below to express your interest. The IML office will let you know the bank details where you can transfer the fees. Please give us 3-4 days to complete the whole process, namely session scheduling, exchanging skype/FaceTime details and so on.

      Please complete and send the form below to express your interest in IML.

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        Raga 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

        Verbatim of Welcome Message

        Welcome Message from Pandit Sanjoy Bandopadhyay

        Namaskar! Welcome to! offer(s) lessons in Indian music, rather, Indian Classical Music in sitar, tabla, Hindustani vocal music (khyal, thumri), sarod and flute. We have been teaching since 2002 and apparently doing very well. Our students are performing, our students are teaching and they are doing well and we have students from different parts of the globe. We offer tailor-made lessons depending on individual student’s requirement and needs. So, it becomes easier for the students to grow faster and as a result we have seen that the students are growing quite fast and doing almost as good as they could have done in the face to face set-up. So, we mostly encourage students those don’t find very good teachers around them. We offer them online teaching and we encourage the students to come to Kolkata also, whenever they can find time, and have face to face live teaching. So, our students those are performing very well are offered both the systems i) the online system and ii) they come to Kolkata and (they) stay here for sometime, learn and practice very hard and do the concerts and all. So, we wish to work for more people so that all of you can get the benefit, feel the bliss and perform well and teach well.

        So, once again, welcome! Namaskar!

        Pandit Sanjoy Bandopadhyay

        SanjoyBPandit Sanjoy Bandopadhyay, the renowned sitar player, is the Chair Professor, Ustad Allauddin Khan Chair of Instrumental Music at the Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata [India]. He is also the Director of S.M. Tagore Center for Documentation & Research in Languishing & Obsolescent Musical Instruments [SMTC-DRLOMI]. Recently he has taken up an added responsibility as the Chief-Coordinator of a research project on ‘Indian Classical Music Mapping of Kolkata’ sponsored by the University Grants Commission, New Delhi under the SAP-DRS.

        After his initial training from his father Shri Peeyush Prasanna Bandopadhyay Professor Bandopadhyay had training under the guidance of the doyens of music like Pt. Radhika Mohan Maitra and Pt. Bimalendu Mukherjee. He also had training from Pt. Manas Chakravarty, Pt. Ajay Sinha Roy and Dr. M.R. Gautam. He also had the opportunity to receive brief guidance from the famous Pt. Gajananrao Joshi.

        Sanjoy is a Top Grade artist of All India Radio, and has several CDs to his credit. The CDs were published by the well-known companies like RPG-HMV, India; India Archive Music Limited, New York, USA and others. He has performed in many major music festivals in India, USA, Canada, European countries and South Africa. His sitar recitals featured several times in the National Program of All India Radio [India’s National Radio Channel] and Doordarshan [India’s National Television Channel].

        Sanjoy also produced a number of highly reputed and internationally acclaimed musicians. Most prominent names among his students  is Sri Kushal Das [sitar]. Other notable names are Rajrupa Chowdhury, the brilliant sarod player,  the 14 year old sitar-magic Sri Ayush Ghosh, the brilliant rising star Sri Kalyanjit Das [sitar], the notable lady young sarod artist Ms. Troilee Dutta [sarod] and others.

        Professor Bandopadhyay served many prestigious academic assignments internationally. These include his visits at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign [USA] as ‘George A. Miller Visiting Professor’, at the University of Alberta [Canada] as ‘Distinguished India Focus Visitor’ or ‘Artist in Residence’ in several universities including the University of Chicago [USA] and University of Colorado at Colorado Springs [USA]. He has featured in Plenary Sessions in global conferences like the UNESCO Conference in Finland and the International Conference arranged by the German Musicological Society, also in another International Conference organized by the University of Amsterdam. He participated in Indo-Canada bi-lateral conference, ‘Emerging India’, arranged by the University of Saskatchewan, Canada. He is serving as expert member and member of advisory bodies for several universities in India. He also served as an external expert for some projects of the University of Chicago [USA] and Staatliche Museen zu Berlin [Germany].

        Here is a video by Jon Barlow. In this video, Professor Sanjoy Bandopadhyay talked about his grooming in music.