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