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sitarman

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Reply with quote  #1 
So, I'm back in Tucson after the Big City- L.A. and my lessons with Shujaat Khan. Thought many of you would be interested. I’ll try to keep it to a million words or less, like some of you who I've accused in the past of writing travelogues!
First and foremost, I owe a couple of my Forum Buddies a debt of thanks for steering me towards Shujaat. After all, there were several names that came up, both Indian born and American born. There are many great players out there, and many great teachers. They aren't always the same entity! I got lucky, I must say.
        As for Los Angeles, after living in Tucson for thirty years, and a penchant for taking my vacations in wilderness areas, it was like landing on another planet! The first 24 hours were spent acclimating and finding the good food stores, restaurants, learning the lay of the land (at least the immediate neighborhood). Not only was this a big geographical change for me, but a major expense. Car, hotel, flight, teacher, etc. I wanted to make the most of it and wished it would be all that I hoped for. My MPS made it in perfect shape, thanks in part, to the brand new lefty fiberglass case that arrived four days before my flight. Considering Bharat started the ordering process in December, this was cutting it close!! No complaints! You have to understand that molds for fiberglass cases don't exist left-handed. Or not until now anyway! So it was really being "made from scratch". Bharat and his associates in India really put in extra effort to get it here in time, having it shipped right to me and bypassing the shop. I think I handled the close call fairly well, only barely freaking out a couple of weeks before my booked trip when I didn't yet have a case. To be safe, I also but two bungee cords around the case in case latches should open. I also had to put tape over the combination lock third latch (I hate those things- what good are they?!) because if it moved and the case couldn't be opened by the gorillas in baggage, should they decide it might be a thermonuclear device, I might be looking at problems..This baby also has wheels on one end which helps for the mile long check in line at LAX. Memorial Day weekend for my return- what was I thinking?!
Ok, Ok, the lessons. I arrived at Shujaat’s house (he actually stays with an old friend when in L.A.) on Tuesday afternoon. He greeted me in a t-shirt and shorts (I liked him already) and was genuinely warm and good humored. I had prepared a gat in Jinjhoti which he himself recorded. I figured he'd ask me to play a bit before anything else and I thought that would be a nice touch. After several minutes he pointed out a few things that were so amazing it was like- Why didn't I ever think of that? Things like mizrab position so I wasn't deadening the jora string as I played and subtle embellishments that happen so quickly you thing it is just a simple meend. Anyway, the next three days were spent on- you guessed it- Jinjhoti. Vilambit, Madhya, and Drut gats. Plus taans for all the above, a few tihais, and some jhalla strums that were so amazing (and ass-kicking- I'll be working on those babies for a while!) that it was like he had anticipated every question I was going to ask. Besides the musical insights he also had some great philosophies about teaching, practicing, etc. that were truly insights and meaningful.
        BTW gang, Shujaat does indeed tune his present instrument to D, as he feels it sounds best there but doesn't necessarily think everyone should tune to D.(someone mentioned him using a no. 4 (.013) string and that is false. In fact, I asked him about tuning that high, since he didn't used to, and he made a comment about macho players- something like "The listeners don't care what size string you use. They just know a good performance. Who cares if someone tunes this high or has this or that string. Just do whatever makes the instrument sound best and makes the music play best". I'm paraphrasing but you get the picture.
        Back at the hotel each day, my fingers killed me! That extra tension from tuning higher really gets you. (I'm back at C#). Needless to say, I had a lot of stuff to practice, and I did! I also recorded the lessons on a minidisk recorder and stereo mic- compact stuff but great sounding.
        I have studdied briefly with three other teachers over the years, one which was much more raga theory than actual sitar instruction, but this blew those times away by the quality of the teacher and the fact that I am at a level now where I can take much more in. Great trip!!
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barend

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Reply with quote  #2 
Great story sitarman!...I feel jealous.

Can you maybe share some of that that amazing jhalla patterns with us. I am curious.
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AbdulLatif

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Reply with quote  #3 
Ahhh sitarman, bless you, bless Shujaat, and all praise to the diety of your choice!
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sitarman

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Reply with quote  #4 
Tell you what- I would be glad to play the jhalla for you but I have LOTS of practice before they will sound like they should- at the speed that my more familiar jhalla is at! So, here is a pattern which sounds amazing at the speed he was playing it at (while talking to me at the same time!!!) The "-" is a gap or space, which really gives it that syncopated, wonderfully exciting feel. D is the Da stroke and c is of course chikari.

c-DD cDDc -DDc DcDD

If you get that going at very fast tempo I'm envious but I'm working on it!
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adunc069

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Reply with quote  #5 
Okay, now everybody try and do that with on your air sitar without making a mistake....confusing but cool pattern :-)
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barend

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Reply with quote  #6 
Thanks sitarman,

This morning I have practiced this pattern for 45 minutes or so. And I can play it as fast as the other Jhala patterns...actualy because of the pauses it is possible to play it even faster.

Cool pattern.
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sitarman

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Reply with quote  #7 
Nice going Barend! Yeah, it is nice, isn't it/ Now, Shujaat also does some things where he will substitute the jora string for a chikari stroke, and those patterns are a challenge as well. Like I said, lots of stuff to keep busy with.
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barend

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Reply with quote  #8 
Hi sitarman,

is there any recording of Shujaat available where he plays this Jhala pattern??
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