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theactor10

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Reply with quote  #1 
It seems all the best sitar players have/had a Guru, rather than taking sitar lessons on an hourly basis. Living in North America, all that I can really find are sitar lessons at quite high hourly rates, most starting at $50/hour and going upwards to $100+/hour. A lot of the greats like Ravi Shankar for example had a guru who they would spend hours with each day to really hone the instrument.

So what I'm trying to say is that I'm seeking advice in finding a guru, rather than a sitar teacher. I'm located in Toronto, Canada, but would be willing to travel for a little while to really learn. My background is Indian btw if that helps in any capacity.

I'm youngish (27), and my goal is to become a performing sitarist and get as good as I possibly can, and I think if I spent a few months even with a guru, that would really help me reach my goal quicker.

Any and all advice is welcome. Thanks!
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Jay M

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Reply with quote  #2 
Hi

I wanted to reply to your post with a link to my post
All sitar players have an amazing opportunity to study with Ustad Shahid Parvez Khan both in person and online. He does visit Toronto on occasion each year and when he is not there, you can work with him online. I highly suggest you look into this, if you want to learn and are very serious about playing, In my opinion this is the best chance you will have to reach your goals.

Thanks
Jay

http://forums.chandrakantha.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=10692

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theactor10

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Reply with quote  #3 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "Jay
Hi

I wanted to reply to your post with a link to my post
All sitar players have an amazing opportunity to study with Ustad Shahid Parvez Khan both in person and online. He does visit Toronto on occasion each year and when he is not there, you can work with him online. I highly suggest you look into this, if you want to learn and are very serious about playing, In my opinion this is the best chance you will have to reach your goals.

Thanks
Jay

http://forums.chandrakantha.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=10692
While I highly respect Shahid Parvez Khan and would love to learn from him, $100/per skpye lesson is way too high for me. Looking more for a guru, rather than an hourly teacher.
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Lars

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Reply with quote  #4 
The Guru finds you actually, sorry to be so esoteric about it :wink: Practice, learn, and give up looking then it'll happen, maybe. No one who advertises as a Guru is qualified though, neither are they qualified if they have an hourly rate. Many 'professional' or aspiring sitarists pay to learn by the hour, it's OK that way and more realistic nowadays. Or you can throw a bunch of money at a Guru for hire and study for a minimum amount of time and then learn from CD's as a few have done and open a school.
The 3 Gurus I admire most, they took the last train to the coast........

Cheers,

Lars

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Hamletsghost

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I could not echo Lars more highly. Many are "taught" few are chosen. When a teacher finds a true shishya with the true tallent and desire to make "the commitment" it is no longer a matter of money for lessons. You literally become part of the family. You are invited to live, eat, do chores, as one with the family and you PRACTICE. Like you cannot imagine. Riyaz for hours on end. This could be for say a month at a time, as students I know have been invited to visit India to study when the guru is off the road. Or it could be for years if you are willing and able to give up your current situation and become a true disciple. It is a major commitment, and not to be entered into lightly.
There is a major difference between your teacher and your Guru. Finding a guru is not just a matter of talent, money, or even desire. It is finding a true spiritual and personal connection with the master, and making real sacrifices for your art.

Brian 8)

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arnabsarod

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Reply with quote  #6 
Write to Vinayak Chittar at vchittar at gmail dot com. He's one of the finest sitar players around (and I don't call just about anybody among the "finest players". Take a look here:
and
).

VC is a cool, down-to-earth guy with no pretensions of being the head of a tradition as old as the dinosaurs. He does charge for teaching, but the fees are considerably below the starting price you mention. He's also someone who can do many things, right from "tuning" a sitar soundboard, to making great-sounding jawaris, fine-tuning mizrabs, etc, and shares his knowledge openly. So, an apprenticeship might actually be possible.

As of today, Mr. Chittar is touring the US, accompanied on the tabla by Shri Prafulla Athalye.

I can email you the concert schedule if you like.

Cheers,

Arnab
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chrisitar

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Reply with quote  #7 
So, this thread has me wondering; is the old guru/shishya system still around or is the hourly lesson/music university/skype teacher the only way? I understand the modern convenience and the global shift to a wage-based salary but are there any masters who open their home and lives for years to dedicated students?
Quote:
Originally Posted by "Hamletsghost"
When a teacher finds a true shishya with the true tallent and desire to make "the commitment" it is no longer a matter of money for lessons.
Obviously a father wouldn't charge his son for years of teaching, but I didn't know that non-family members of a gharana weren't charged any money. Seems a bit odd that years of intense teaching is free but a one hour skype lesson is 100$. Gotta make a living I suppose.

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nicneufeld

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It think it is also somewhat anachronistic particularly for teachers that live in the US...perhaps it is more common in India, I don't know. But for teachers in the west, they have bills to pay like the rest of us, and the mughal princes are no longer footing the bills for classical musicians to live comfortably! In the old days it seems like it was more of an apprenticeship model...taking a promising young musician on as a student, having him live and follow the musician around. But think of that sort of thing nowadays for a musician living in the US or Canada. If they are an active performing musician, they are travelling a lot, most likely, and who is paying for that extra seat on the plane trip? Would they need to provide food and board to the student? Etc etc etc. It's a very different world from when a young Ravi Shankar left his brother's troupe to live and study with Baba in Maihar.

Personally my recommendation is to study with good teachers when you can afford it, even if it is a paid lesson. You may develop a deeper relationship with a teacher as time passes...if they see potential, its up to them whether they want to invest more in you as a student. But do what you can...something is better than nothing, and paid lessons with a good teacher are much better than unpaid guru-shishya style teaching from a bad teacher.

Hat tip to chrisitar's meme:

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arnabsarod

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Reply with quote  #9 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "chrisitar"
So, this thread has me wondering; is the old guru/shishya system still around or is the hourly lesson/music university/skype teacher the only way?
What works these days is a mix of a time-bound lesson and some aspects of the old system. Given a knowledgeable teacher who is willing to work hard at coaching, and a student who is willing to absorb (and work hard), this present system is actually more efficient than the traditional way. The traditional method, in spite of one's closeness to the teacher and their constant availability (at least in theory) to correct errors and smooth things out, did not allow for efficient use of time. The guru was seldom accountable and the power equation was heavily biased towards the guru. Not good, because this led to much abuse in the teaching relationship. For every great musician produced, hundreds or thousands of talents would perish.
Quote:
I understand the modern convenience and the global shift to a wage-based salary but are there any masters who open their home and lives for years to dedicated students?
Some musicians with secure incomes and big-ticket concert presence do claim to teach free, but generally extract their pound of flesh in other ways. Within this subsection, there are always those honest and welcoming teachers who do open their homes and lives to a good student when they see the urge to learn. This is rather an exception than the norm, but I am aware of several such teachers.
Quote:
Originally Posted by "Hamletsghost"
When a teacher finds a true shishya with the true tallent and desire to make "the commitment" it is no longer a matter of money for lessons.
Obviously a father wouldn't charge his son for years of teaching, but I didn't know that non-family members of a gharana weren't charged any money. Seems a bit odd that years of intense teaching is free but a one hour skype lesson is 100$. Gotta make a living I suppose.

During the days when court musicians could afford to feed, clothe and house students, the fee was extracted in the form of household labour or some other form of apprenticeship. Fair trade, IMHO, as long as it didn't graduate into the realm of abuse. But in a highly undemocratic society like India, I wouldn't be surprised if it did. Some other students, who were sons (mostly, for women generally did not study with a guru resident in another town) of the gentry did pay steep fees for tutelage. In fact, a top sarodiya from Gwalior (ca. 1936) had asked to see the tax assessment papers, when my guru's guru, Pandit Radhika Mohan Maitra, had approached him for lessons. Pandit Maitra was the son of a landed aristocrat in the feudal sense, and the Ustad deemed it proper that the fee for teaching a princeling be commensurate to the estate's income!

I do not see why Shahid Parvez's time would not be pegged at $100 for a Skype lesson. He is a very busy man and a great sitar player. One does not start beginner guitar lessons with Yngwie Malmsteen or Paco de Lucia (depending on your choice of genre), does one?

In essence, much of the information we find floating around about GSP is idealized nonsense. I think that a new breed of learned, articulate sitar musicians with few pretenses (such as Vinayak and Indrajit, for example) are the right kind of people to share the music in a sane, reasoned manner.

Cheers,

Arnab
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chrisitar

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Reply with quote  #10 
very informed response, thank you. I'm very curious about this subject.
Quote:
In essence, much of the information we find floating around about GSP is idealized nonsense.
I had a suspicion that this was the case.

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