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Tej Singh

Posts: 7
Reply with quote  #1 
1. Practice With Metronome
2. Practice In Front of Mirror
3. Practice Daily, Preferably on 5.5-6" Wider Tabla Head
4. Listen to Good Tabla Players
5. Pay Attention to Clarity & Hands Position
6. Say Syllable/Bol With Metronome
7. Play Tabla Louder And Clear , Don't Play Soft
8. Practice Only One Lesson Per Session
9. Learn & Play Baya Modulation Properly, Don't Play Like Machine & Robot
10. Practice Slowly Most of The Time. 75% Slow 15% Medium 15 Fast Speed

Posts: 101
Reply with quote  #2 
The most annoying thing in Tabla solo is when players start showing facial acrobats and also physical circus. The mirror practice helps with stopping facial emotions which we tend to show when playing Tabla. Ustad Zakir Hussain is not annoying because that's natural for us to experience as it's real for him. The problem comes when people who are inspired from Ustadji start to show the same emotions on their faces.

Tabla players used to be in Royal courts and if you see Ustad Thirkawa, he doesn't show any facial tensions whatsoever while playing. I read somewhere that Ustad Amir Hussain and Ustad Thirkwa's students were instructed to avoid facial tension while playing Tabla.

Posts: 68
Reply with quote  #3 
Most of these are fairly common recommendations that I know many teachers would support. Personally, I might modify playing one lesson per session. I guess that depends on how long your session is (and whether you practice more than one session per day). I think you have to focus on one bol, or set or similar bols, for at least an hour at a time otherwise you'll never get the technique. But if you're playing 4 hours or more a day, then only playing one thing would be overkill, and you'd be neglecting other important bols.

Also, I'm not sure how loud one should practice. I suppose loud is a relative term and can depend on how strong your technique already is. You also have to be careful not to strain too much, otherwise you'll tire yourself out. I would advocate finding the sweet spot of clarity and balance without strain. This goes for both volume and speed (favoring slower speeds).

As for not playing with a metronome, I can't understand how "second/minute based" beats per minute make any difference whatsoever (Re: Khitchdee's comments). If you're worried about getting too used to a particular BPM then just change it a little everyday. My teacher (Chhotelal Misra) advocated using a lahera machine. I've never heard any master say it was a bad idea. What most drummers need to do is learn to NOT LISTEN to their "internal clock" which is usually telling them to speed up. Besides, tabla players rarely get to set their own tempo but must follow the tempo set by the soloist (except in solo).

Many Indians suggest using a mirror. It's especially helpful for checking your overall body posture (tension in the shoulders, elbows moving too far out to the side, wrist getting too high or low, etc.). The different angle that a mirror provides also helps you check things in your hands that you don't always notice. It has nothing to do with "how good your hands look."

As for a tradition of not showing facial expressions, I've heard of this as well. My teacher showed little expression when playing. The great Afaq Hussain also advocated this in James Kippen's "The Tabla of Lucknow": "We were told to avoid excessive movement of the head, and were told to eradicate the tensing of all facial muscles, especially those in and around the mouth, a surprisingly difficult thing to achieve!"

Few players follow this anymore. But some players are naturally expressive and charismatic (like Zakir). As long as it's genuine, as singhhh_ap mentions, it's fine. It can add something to the music.
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