The Right Approach to Music – Priceless takeaways

By Nupur Joshi

Nupur Joshi is an Indian classical vocalist, based in Mumbai. She is trained under Dr. Vikas Kashalkar and Shalmalee Joshi in Hindustani classical music and in Carnatic classical music by  Shri Chitravina Ravikiran for the past many years.  

For anything that we pursue in life, the right approach is a must, for progress. Many times we all may have wondered, what precisely is the right approach?

As we all know, this can only be explicitly explained by legends in the field.

Carnatic music is one of the most richest and complete systems of our Indian classical music tradition. Being a highly evolved system, it is widely appreciated by all music systems in the world for its unique amalgam of Melody, Rhythm, Lyrics and the tremendous scope that it offers even for improvisation. It is especially appreciated by Hindustani musicians for its richness in lyrics and mastery over rhythm.

The Carnatic music summer camp conducted in Madison, USA, since 2012, by Sangeet Samraat Chitravina Ravikiran ji for US students, is widely known.

This year 2020, being an exception due to the covid 19 pandemic, witnessed a unique event.

The Carnatic summer camp went Global, inviting students from all round the world, to participate from the convenience of their homes. This great initiative was conceptualized by Shri Ravikiran ji and organized by Acharyanet – one of the best Carnatic music online institutes for music excellence, on the digital platform.

The camp took place from June 22 to July 5, 2020 and was conducted by it’s renowned faculty which consists of well known concert artists – Vanitha Suresh, Bhargavi Balasubramanian, and Anahita and Apoorva Ravindran.  Several students of all age groups participated in this camp. It consisted of two sessions per day, morning and evening of 90 mins each, with intense training given by the faculty and individual attention given to each student, addressing various questions and important aspects.

Ravikiran ji joined in every session, teaching new compositions, clearing doubts, and giving invaluable insights into music. He also gave several great insights into Hindustani music which was truly enlightening for me, being a hindustani musician myself.

Revising and understanding the basics, learning with each minute detail, practising with the correct techniques, investing quality time, understanding voice production and voice culture, the importance of smooth and safe landings in Manodharma, pursuit of aesthetics and correct skills, this camp traversed a huge span of extraordinary musical insights.

Shri Ravikiran ji’s mind blowing commitment to perfection has always been my greatest inspiration over all these years and in this camp he gave several priceless take-aways for lifetime.

Singing with perfect shruti, correct grammar, importance of lyrics, looking at the raga as a personality, raga bhavam, aiming for perfection and polish, practising with the correct methods and skills, focussing on every microscopic detail, giving utmost attention to alertness and aesthetics, the process of several stages of perfection – from getting it right, to getting it beautiful, and most importantly, mindfulness during practice were some of the key aspects that were the focus of this camp.

It made us realize that there is no short cut to consistent hard work in the right direction and that talent can never, ever, be a passport to our progress.

Ravikiran ji emphasized how crucial it is to have an approach embedded with Honesty, Integrity and the Right content, and that the real journey begins only after mastering the skills. He also explained about the importance of the  Truth of the Phrasings and the universal concept of the Quest of Truth which is present in every music system.

This apart, there was a new special addition to the camp this year, in which guest sessions by some of the most esteemed artists were also conducted.

The artists included Shri KV Prasad on Crucial aspects of Accompaniment Vidwan Patri Satish Kumar on  ‘Dissecting Tani Avartanams’ , Vidushi Akkarai Subhalakshmi’s Special Session on ‘Accompanying in High Voltage Improvisation, Vidwan BS Purushotham on Khanjira in Classical and Contemporary Times   Dr.Sriram Parasuram on Musical Skills and Raga Aesthetics and Shri Chitravina Ravikiran on How to Compose Ragam, Tanam, Pallavis.

 

These sessions were a major eye opener and the way the artists described their entire musical journey was truly inspirational. Hearing about their extraordinary discipline, hard work and focus was a true treasure.

The Global Carnatic Camp organized by Acharyanet has been one of the most enlightening experiences for lifetime and has benefited and inspired several students around the globe. Sowmya Acharya, the founder of Acharyanet was extremely helpful and supportive to all the students, and in conducting this actual event online.

The biggest takeaway for me in this camp has been the fundamental truth so beautifully and explicitly explained by Shri Ravikiran ji- “The entire, one and only, sole purpose of music is to touch hearts. Along with beauty and perfection, our music should create life and emotive appeal, which has the power to transcend the personal likes/dislikes of the listeners.

Music is only a winner when the I is absent. The moment music is used as a vehicle to showcase our skills and virtuosity, it is lost.

The resolution of Silence in Sound and Sound in Silence should definitely be the end goal of every artist and if the artist is able to do this even for a few moments, and take the listeners along with him, then this will a moment, whose memories will be sustained forever.”

This is a gem which needs to be kept in mind by all music aspirants throughout the musical journey.

This fantastic initiative by Acharyanet was a huge success and it can prove to be a big inspiration and a role model for all other music institutes aiming for excellence, both in India and abroad.

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