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Posts: 6
Reply with quote  #1 
I don't know any musical instruments right now. I want to learn an Indian instrument because of the cultural connection I have with India. I am mostly interested in academics so I am afraid that I will be unable to learn a musical instrument and will have wasted a lot of money on buying an instrument.
What instrument should I learn? Or am I being way too ambitious starting with an Indian instrument?

Posts: 178
Reply with quote  #2 
you can always try singing first

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Posts: 2,233
Reply with quote  #3 
I would say, listen to a bunch of different instruments and vocals and see which indian instrument you connect with.
Only you know what you desire.
Indian music is very complex and takes a huge amount of practice so you really have to have an obsession for the instrument you choose.
When I started I didnt know if I wanted to play Sarod or Sitar, so I listened to a lot of both instruments, and the instrument that made me mad with desire was sitar.
But be forewarned that Indian Music and Indian instruments are a long long journey.
But once you get started and the desire takes hold you will be hooked.

For my two cents I say go for sitar.
It is the most beautiful instrument in the world as far as I am concerned.

Posts: 6
Reply with quote  #4 
I am thinking about sitar but I have some questions....
How long will it take me to be able to play simple music
How difficult is is it overall
Where can I get a good beginner model

and what about bansuri and esraj/dilruba
Thank You!

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Posts: 2,487
Reply with quote  #5 
I like PJB's reply about singing. If you are unsure about an instrument then start with the voice. Vocal training is the best grounding for any instrumental training. Don't focus so much, though, on the immediate gratifcation of being able to play "simple music". Basically what you are really studying is Classical Indian Music and the nstruemnt s secondary to that. So if you can start with some vocal lessons you'd be off to the best start.
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Reply with quote  #6 
How long does it take to learn to play the sitar?
Well actually it depends on your personal talent for music, how much you practice, and how good your teacher is.
If you practice regularly you should start to play something resembling "music" after a few months.
Sitar is not like western music where in order to play music you just have to learn to read music on an instrument to play the written tune.
Sitar music is mostly improvised. Meaning that there are not long written pieces to play.
This mean that you have to learn the vocabulary of the raga that you are going to perform.
This take a long time.
I started on my first raga within the first three months of learning, but I have been a musician for thirty years before starting the sitar.
If you practice every day you could start learning a raga within the first six months.

SItar is a learning process that will continue until the day you stop playing or die.
Pandit Ravi Shankar, Nikhil Banerjee, and Ustad Vilayat Khan all continued to learn and grow musically their whole lives.
It never stops.

To answer your question as to whether it is hard to play overall, that is a hard question.
The sitar is difficult to play in general, but the real difficulty is the music itself.
Indian Classical music is a very very very deep well.
Each raga is its own ocean of ideas colors and sounds.
Each raga is a lifetime journey.

It all sounds daunting and scary but it is so worth the effort.
You will never regret the journey.

As for buying a sitar I would stick with the known and respected sellers.

I would say that you should not buy a "Beginner sitar".
Get the best one you can afford.
Cheap sitars are hard to play and not satisfying.
It is hard to keep practice up on a sitar that does not sound beautiful and play comfortably.

And about bansuri and esraj/dilruba or sitar, these are questions that only you can answer.
Go and listen to these instruments and see which one really touches you.
What do YOU want to play.
All indian instruments are difficult to learn because of the complicated music system.
There is no easy one.
There is no easy path to the music.
It takes practice and discipline.

If you want to play an instrument that you can pick up every now and then and play a pretty tune go buy a guitar.
Western instruments are much quicker to pick up. Guitar is a breeze compared to sitar.
You have to really really love indian music and sitar to be able to put the effort and time into it that is needed to be able to play.
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