The Key to Success

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Sanjay Suresh, a gifted 12 year old violinist learning with guru Shri Chitravina N Ravikiran shares his views on the “Key to Success” in music.
Sanjay Suresh playing violin

As a second generation Indian, you can experience things in the USA that first generation Indians cannot even experience in India. Carnatic music is one of these celebrated art-forms. Carnatic music is 2000 years old and is practiced by people all around the world. Some of these practitioners are students who are taught by gurus who are generous enough to share their knowledge.
Yet, many people have the knowledge but not the inspiration. These two go along together like bread and butter. Knowledge is only the base but inspiration is the key to success. An artiste without inspiration is like a ship without a propeller. This inspiration can be found not in an object but in a world of music. The Cleveland Tyagaraja festival creates this world with 2 weeks of non-stop concerts, symphonies, plays, ensembles, and a day of musical competitions. This experience is great for artists in the making and for already seasoned artistes. So, what does it take to be an artiste? After all, not everyone can be an artiste.
Artistes are made up of knowledge, inspiration, and most importantly, practice. Many people think that ability is what makes up the artiste’s career but it is the practice and the motivation that helps to guide you to perfection. Sometimes, people can get misled by the power of ability. Many people go to competitions expecting to be holding a trophy at the end. Some of these people do not get prizes. They feel like their talent is not good enough. This is not true. In my mind, anyone can be a great artiste, but they need the right balance of practice, motivation, and knowledge. But is that enough?
One of the most important factors is to have a good mentor. For example, my guru, Shri Chitravina N Ravikiran is a consummate artiste. My music is definitely full of mistakes when he is on the verge of complete perfection. Even so, he helps correct my failures and I learn in the process. He helped me find my calling.
I hope that many people realize that sheer talent can take one nowhere. If you pick up a subject and have the motivation to practice, you can go anywhere. And if you have the right Guru who mentors you and ensures that you are on the right path, you are all set. Not only in music, but in any field you choose. I strongly feel that people should realize what they’re motivated about, and take that to perfection. The key to success is motivation, practice & having the right mentor!!
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