INDIAN MUSIC FORUMS

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DonovanJaymz

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In the spring, I will receive my new Sitar which is currently being made by Tony Karasek. Although I have lived as a professional musician my whole life, I will be a total beginner on Sitar. As a music educator myself, I know how important it is to learn from a qualified, experienced teacher. If I could major in a University program on sitar and North Indian classical music, I would. So far, I have not found any program like that in the US. If anyone knows of such a program or a private school equivalent, please let me know. I do not wish to teach myself or learn from any other self taught or casual player. I need a formal, integrated education on not just sitar, but the entire musical system including a bit of tabla, vocal technique, written theory, and even the Hindi language.

Long story short: my wonderful, incredible wife has agreed to move anywhere along the East Coast (Boston to Miami), so that I can find and attend a decent Indian school of music where I can get all these educational components together in one place. My internet searches have revealed only the Ali Akbar school of music in California which is too far for us to move and the Indian international School in Virgina, just outside Washington, DC. Does anyone have an opinion or personal knowledge of the Indian International School? Here's their link: http://www.indiaschool.org/

If anyone could help point me in the right direction, I'd truly appreciate it. Perhaps there's another school that I'm not aware of. Thank you!
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nicneufeld

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Reply with quote  #2 
My first thought was AACM, but that is a fair ways away, as you point out...

My second thought, is there a reason you would insist upon an organized "school" as opposed to finding an excellent and well-reputed individual teacher? Indian classical music is traditionally taught in that format, even today in the United States. With the right teacher, most would argue that is the most ideal method of learning sitar. In the mean time, there is plenty on the internet and in written books that you can start to absorb.

Anyway, I defer to others on right coast schools of ICM!
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DonovanJaymz

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Reply with quote  #3 
As a beginner on Sitar, I would learn best in a more formally structured and varied environment with clear goals, levels, and perhaps even exams. I need some kind of pressure with time lines and goals - that's just how I learn. Ultimately, after learning all the fundamentals I would seek a guru to take me the rest of the way. As I said above, my plan is to take separate courses in tabla, vocals, raga theory (if available) and even the Hindi language. I'm willing to move anywhere along the East coast where such a program is offered. Judging by the India International School's website, it seems they offer this kind of program. BUT before I call them, I'm wondering if anyone on this forum has personal experience with them or any other similar schools or University program.
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nicneufeld

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Reply with quote  #4 
Looks like the sitar teaching faculty member at that school is a John Bell, who learned at AACM. Blurb from the site:

"John Bell began studying North Indian Classical music in 1973. Since 1978, he has spent summers at the Ali Akbar College of Music in San Rafael, California learning from maestros such as Ali Akbar Khan, Zakir Hussain, and Swapan Chaudhuri. He performs weekly at the Bombay Tandoor Restaurant in Vienna on Sitar and Bansuri,as well as at weddings and house concerts in The D.C. area. He also repairs Indian instruments. He teaches the instrumental and vocal compositions of Ali Akbar Khan and welcomes the players of all instruments who want to learn this music."

Re "I need some kind of pressure with time lines and goals - that's just how I learn", trust me, I speak from experience when I say that mastering your last weeks lesson is motivated by immense pressure in the one-on-one teaching system. In a large class there is the option to sort of skate by unnoticed, but when its just you and the teacher there's nowhere to hide if you didn't practice sufficiently!

Another option which would certainly be more cost-effective than relocating would be the remote classes AACM offers. They don't offer all their classes this way but I bet the introductory instrumental ones are.
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DonovanJaymz

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Reply with quote  #5 
Well, we were planning on moving anyways, since our jobs are internet related (we can live anywhere). My wife is simply supporting my need to move to any place where there's a strong school program or, as you suggest, a top-notch teacher. Ideally, we'd love to live in the Miami-Ft.Lauderdale area. We were visiting there just a few months ago scouting out the various neighborhoods. I found two teachers listed there: 1. Bharti Chokshi and 2. Stephan Mik
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chrisitar

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Reply with quote  #6 
Try finding out about Swarganga School in Atlanta. They have a very handy website.
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DonovanJaymz

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Reply with quote  #7 
I contacted Swarganga today which is only 3.5 hours from Asheville. They said they didn't have an in-house sitar teacher and then offered their online teacher. Noooooo thank you. I want the real deal in 3D human flesh, not some 15" laptop screen teacher with a crappy Skype connection. Luckily, I found Gregg Fosse lives here in Asheville too. He's offered to teach me some rudiments and technique for the next few months until we move later this year. I'd really like to hear other people's opinions and experiences with Bharti Chokshi and Stephan Mik
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