What are The Tips For Teaching Manodharma in Carnatic Music?

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Question from Student:
Is manodharma something that is taught or should be developed naturally by the student! When beginning to attempt manodharma what is the rope of the guru? What are some suggestions for kids who are starting manodharma, is It Kalpana swaram first and then alapana followed by viruttam, tanam
Answered by Shri Chitravina N Ravikiran
There’s no specific order for whether kalpana swaram should be taught first or raga alapana should be taught first or such kind of things. Generally, in my syllabus if you see in Acharyanet.com, for everything right from the geetam level, I always give some voice culture exercises in every raga. That is the foundation for alapana. In fact i insist that my students should learn the voice culture phrases first, they should be able to sing those phrases as both swarams and akArams which will be the foundation for both Alapana and Kalpana swarams later on in life.
Without learning this, my students generally will never be allowed to go to the composition, because the composition is generally only an extension of the raga. It's only a manner in which the raga has been embedded or encapsulated by the great composers. So Indian music is still raga music. Even though Carnatic music is rich in compositions, we have to learn the raga first. Then even ten compositions in that raga will be very good and easy to learn.
So the way in which I train my students is such that they’ll automatically get manodharma aspects also embedded in the composition itself. Every Guru need not have the same methods. They may have different methods. It very difficult to generalize. It also depends upon aptitude of students. Some of them might naturally be very good at mathematics and excited with kalpana swarams . Some others may not like that much and may prefer or excel in alapanas. So the guru will take right decisions based on the students propensities as well as aptitude.
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