Thursday, July 13, 2006

The perfect music teacher... Finally!

I gave music classes my best shot when I was something like 10-12 years old. I swear I did! I learnt to sing! Well... actually... I tried to learn to sing. I was with this music teacher for a little more than two years. Somehow, he only made me dislike classical music. So I stopped classes and decided to stay away from classical music..... FOREVER! And I had a good reason for that. Carnatic music, or any other form of Indian classical just seemed... well... very scary and difficult! So many songs, so many raagas and so much of technical stuff! So I stayed away....

Till about two and a half months ago...

My second semester hadn't gotten over yet. It had been almost one year in Singapore. And I realized that I was actually missing Indian classical music. That was a surprise! But I decided that something had to be done. So I gave my parents a call and told them to get the violin at home repaired and to try and find a good violin teacher. I told them I didn't mind going anywhere to learn how to play the violin, as long as it was a good teacher. I decided that it didn't matter how scary learning music seemed. It just HAD to be done.

My parents did everything that I had asked them to. They managed to find a teacher who taught a few kids in the neighbourhood. He goes to the house of the student to teach. That was just perfect! Everything was set. I was to learn how to play the violin as soon as I got back home.

Just the day after I landed here, I was taken to my Dad's friend's house. His son has been learning violin from this teacher for about 2 years. We met my teacher there, who immediately told us to go back and wait for him in our house. I have to admit that when I first saw the teacher, I was terrified! He looked like one of those strict, no-nonsense type of a person who would rarely smile and never crack a joke! Scary!

Anyways, the important thing is that I ignored all the fear and nervousness. I was getting back to music and nothing was going to stop me! I had only 3 months to learn whatever I could.

Now I have been learning for about two and a half months. And I am loving it! There's nothing scary about Indian Classical music and the theory behind it! Its actually really interesting! And my teacher isn't what I thought he would turn out to be! He isn't strict and never hesitates to smile! I guess it takes time for a proper student-teacher relationship to develop. And now that it has developed, classes are so much of fun. If you don't believe me, then ask my Mom! She'll tell you how broad my grin is as soon as class is over and the teacher leaves :D Thats how happy my classes make me :) (You see, I couldn't possibly grin like that before he left. Then he would think I was mad and run away and never come back!)

This man is an amazing teacher. He teaches me not just violin, but also dishes out very nice and philosophical stories and lots of jokes! Classes are never boring 'coz you never know what to expect from him! I have learnt to appreciate music better, and now I am not that bad at playing the violin :) I have not just learnt to play the instrument, I have also learnt that whenever I am bored, frustrated, depressed or angry, all I need to do is to play the violin and then, voila! my moods have changed! And all this was made possible by my teacher!

A couple of days back, I was trying out this particular song. I wasn't able to play it at all! Hell, I couldn't even remember it after having played it continuously. He was quite surprised, 'coz even though my violin skills aren't the best, my memory is quite good! ;) My Mom just happened to be passing by that room at that moment and let slip to him that when I was practising over the weekend, there were times when I'd just give up out of sheer frustration. Then he looked at me and told me this story... Its an Indian folktale...

There was a time when Lord Shiva felt that people didn't respect him at all. He got angry and went to Lord Vishnu. It is said that whenever Vishnu blows his conch, it rains on earth. Shiva told him not to blow his conch till Shiva himself gave him permission. Vishnu agreed to this. And so it began... year after year without rain... people suffered a lot. This went on for around 20 years. All the farmers had given up farming except for one man. He continued to plough his fields and do all the things that a farmer normally does, year after year. He never gave up farming like his friends had. Shiva and Vishnu were curious. They decided to come down to earth and talk to this man and find out why he was still farming when there was no rain. They asked him why he was being so foolish and farming when there was no rain and why he didn't just give up. He replied to them, "So what if it hasn't rained this year or the last year or the year before that? Someday Lord Shiva will cool down and it will rain again. I am sure that will happen, its just a matter of time. In the meanwhile, I have to keep farming, no matter what happens to my fields. What if I stop farming like my friends did, then it rained and I came back only to find that I have forgotten all the tricks of the trade over these 20 years? What will I do then? I must keep practising. I must keep working. Even if the results aren't the best, I must go on. Someday, it will rain and someday, my results here will improve." On hearing this, Lord Vishnu got worried... He immediately went and blew his conch... just to make sure that he hadn't forgotten how to do that after all these years! And it rained again on earth.

The point of this entire story? Just keep practising the violin, even if what you play doesn't sound like the desired tune. Keep correcting yourself and don't give up, someday you will get the desired tune. And once you do, don't stop practising! As you just learnt from the story, even God can forget stuff if he doesn't practise it regularly! There are no excpetions when it comes to practising to be perfect and remain perfect :)

Macho Girl has finally returned to Carnatic music. She has finally overcome her fears and is chasing her dream of being able to play a musical instrument....

Macho Girl is happy...

Macho Girl is very happy...

In fact, Macho Girl must be the happiest girl on earth! A little music can do wonders to your life :)

7 comments:

Confused Soul said...

As I always say.. Music is the soul of my life..I can't do without it!
And I've learnt hindustani music when I was younger too.. and I agree that it's not that bad.. in fact, it's not bad at all.. I loved it!
Good work with the violin Macho girl.. Keep practising.. and when you're confident, you can put up a little show for us.. :D

Clueless said...

See? I told you! Practice makes perfect, dearie. Always so.

I do the same thing with my music classes. Whenever I practise and go, I feel the difference. I sing better, and I'm more confident. It's like that with everything. It's not always easy, what with the little time we have for stuff other than studies, but it's gotta be done! No pain, no gain, right? :)

And I always knew you'd do great with the violin. I gotta hear you play soon, babe!

soleil said...

Its great that you are really enjoying playing the violin. I have always wanted to learn some sort of musical instrument but I haven't chosen any to try and there's always that fear of, "What if I suck at it?" :p I was thinking of the guitar...

Macho Girl said...

#confused soul
i will try to! get ready with cotton ear plugs and all that sorta stuff!!! :P

#clueless
:D

What else can I say?! Great to see you again after such a long time :)

#soleil
Big deal if u suck at it!!! Instead u shud ask... "what if i don't suck at it?" or "what if I turn out to be brilliant?" :) You shud definitely try!

drsundeep said...

You need to be very fortunate to get a Guru like that! As the saying goes-Begin to weave and God will provide you with thread. My eternal regret is that I could not learn to play any musical instrument. I am keenly interested in classical music and all the credit goes to my Maternal Uncle "Mausa", a noted violinist himself. His method of teaching is totally different. One day he saw me struggling me to play some notes on my mother's Harmonium after looking at her scale exercises. He crept up behind me and asked me "Do you seriously want to play some tunes? I said yes, but I don't want to learn classical music in order to be able to play any tunes of my choice, is it possible? He said No problem! He instantly wrote out notations for our National anthem. To my utter surprise, I was able to play the anthem without mistakes after just 3 attempts! After that he gave me many more notations to try which I gladly practiced. Then he gradually, over the years made me understand the intricacies of Hindustani classical music without going into its technicalities. His method was simple-He made me recognize a raga by relating it to a Hindi film song based on that raga, e.g, Raga lalit is used in the song-Ek Shahenshah ne banwa ke haseen tajmahal etc. Oops, I'm going on and on. Anyways great post! Keep going!

Macho Girl said...

#drsundeep
haha. Its ok that u kept going on. I enjoyed the comment :) Thanks!!

OuTlaW said...

nice to see u enjoy the playing the violiin.. aah hell who cares how bad it is? as long as u enjoy it.. and i am sure u play just gr8!
shakespear said,, i think he did
if music is the soul of life, play on