About the Course
I have been organizing residential workshops for my students since 2004 and due to the insistence of some parents and students ,have started planning this year’s workshop at Gopegarh,Medinipur from 24th to 30th. December 2013.
(Frequently Asked Questions)
1.For most of the students,MUSIC ,is an extra-curricular or co-curricular activity.Then why is it given such importance?
It is true,that majority of the students(especially parents)cannot think beyond its extra or co-curricular capacity.The scenario has not changed over the past 70 odd years or so,when music students were looked down upon and all possible means were adopted to discourage them from taking it up seriously .The mindset and approach has not changed much despite so many superficial changes in society.
The students who regularly attend classes are already burdened by their academic pressure and other activities.Despite their sincerity and their parents’ commitment,it is not always possible to extract the best in them.Music,builds in them a sense of aesthetics,discipline,respect and values and care for their national heritage which no other form of performing art can develop.This also includes dance and instrumental music.
The sort of individuals these students will grow up to be is shaped in the way we monitor their thought processes and in that Hindusthani classical music has a huge role to play.
2.Music classes……..what to expect from a music class..and the teacher/Guru?
The students come for classes once or twice a week.They are in a class of average 7 to 12 students.The time allotted for each class is around 2 to 2.5 hours.Some students have to leave early because they live pretty far away and some arrive late.As a result,valuable class hours are wasted.The teacher’s job is not to make the students do their “riyaz”in class.The students are expected to come prepared and take new fresh lessons every class day.There are some parents/students who are under the utter misconception that if nothing has been written in their child’s notebook then he/she has not learnt anything.More often then not the teacher cannot proceed further in a particular subject due to the negligence of the students and in some cases,the parents.You must try to understand that,if you are spending money and time to learn a particular discipline then you should also come prepared to class.The teacher’s job is to not only correct and guide you but to also show you the right path to master a technique.
3.Why do we need to spend more time?After all,this is nothing but an extra-curricular activity!
Agreed! This is indeed an extra-curricular activity,but can anybody vouch and say that if you or your child shows promise and talent ,he/she/yourself will not take it up as a career?If a child can sleep,eat,study,play,attend social dos,attend friends birthday parties,go for vacations and the rest,then why this step-motherly treatment for MUSIC?If you are helping your child to make lame excuses for not practicing or not attending classes,then its going to become a habit for the studentin the long run too,because,he/she will not think twice to lie about something which may affect you too!They will hopefully turn out to be successful professional people with good moral values,and if they start a bit of time management at an early age,is there any harm?
Another thing which I have to stress is,quality control,being a student of music they are expected to produce a certain amount of prowess in the discipline they are learning.That will not only boost their confidence but will set an example for themselves and others.
4.Times have changed…..the GURUKUL system has become obsolete…and studies are far more important.What can one do?
Indeed,times have changed.Since VEDIC times and till the recent past,Gurus were held in high esteem,only next to GOD! We have become more”practical”nowadays .
I am the only son of my parents.My father,late Kajal Mukherjee,was a renowned footballer and had played for all the three great football clubs of Kolkata and represented the country for 15 years.My mother,Suvra Mukherjee,initially a homemaker later transformed into a successful businesswoman with an MNC.My schooling was in La Martiniere and subsequent graduation and M.A.from Jadavpur University.After my initiation into music at the tender age of 8,I began training under the great Ustad Munawar Ali Khansahib.I went to live with him,wherever he stayed apart from Kolkata.Be it Delhi or Hyderabad,I was there staying and imbibing the skills of the style of Kasur-Patiala Gayaki.My parents insisted that I should complete my education so that if I did not succeed in the unpredictable world of music,I had something to fall back upon and mind you,I come from a thorough middle class background!
The reason why I gave you a short synopsis of my background,is to make you understand that despite the fact,we have become modern,have different priorities and are more worried about our childrens’ future ,than our parents’ were…..the need and importance of the Gurukul system of learning has not dwindled.
5.The annual workshop requires staying away from home and studies.How will my child cope up with the loss in his study time?
We organize the workshop,keeping in mind the school schedules and other holidays.Most schools have a Christmas/New Year vacation and 6 days spent to master a discipline under the guidance of the Guru cannot harm his/her studies.One of my students,who scored brilliantly in this year’s secondary examinations attended the last workshop in 2011.He sat for his CBSE 2012! I understand that all are not equally intelligent.In that case I would suggest them to carry study material along,so that they brush up on academics whenever they get any free time.
6.While talking about the workshop,it is often heard that the aspect of “atmosphere” is repeated.What exactly is meant by that?
You see, when you enter my class,you see a certain décor and set up which is typical of a music class.The décor creates an ambience which sets the mood and atmosphere relating to a particular form.Surely,you cannot expect to find floor sitting in corporate offices?I know,that most of my students do not have a proper space allotted for music practice! This outrageous and blasphemy…….people who pray and do Puja or offer Namaz,have a space designated for the same and to relieve ourselves we go to particular area within the house.Why this apathy when music is concerned?My Guru’s picture inspires me to follow the path he showed me and that sets the mood.
Similarly,at the workshop,an atmosphere and ambience is created where the students are inspired to follow the daily regimen.I have seen people who are late risers,get up and start practicing along with their fellow students.This just does not pertain to the décor….the presence of the teacher,the Tabla player’s constant vigil,the natural surroundings of the venue all are contributory.
7.Why organize workshops?Will such an activity guarantee that my child/I will practice and how beneficiary is it on the whole?
The main reason why I started organizing such workshops,was due to the dearth of time that the students could devote to master any skill.Thats how it all began.They stay ,live,eat,dream,play and do music for 6 days a year and that takes them to a certain level that they cannot achieve in six months while traversing to and from home.
Discipline is something which is conspicuously absent in most of the students.Waking up at certain time and going to bed at a certain hour….practising for a certain time ,all these instill in them a sense of rigid discipline .This cannot be achieved at home…neither did I…..I had to live for months on end to understand the meaning of discipline,despite the fact that my father and my mother were strict disciplinarians!
When they attend the workshops,they do not have an inkling what they are going to go through……but after returning enriched and confident,if they can sustain even 25% of what they did ,then they will reap benefits for which you as a parent/student and I,as a teacher,will indeed be very proud of!
They learn the art of staying and sharing together.Girls and boys are segregated and during meal times and games are they free to interact.Many guardians stay along,which is indeed very supportive and helpful.A team spirit is abundant and many a times I have experienced that students who were hitherto shy and wary of asking questions,break the ice ,and come forward and ask questions.
Tabla,an integral part of learning music,is deeply nurtured during workshops.For sis days at a stretch,the students enjoy the benefits of being accompanied by a table player twice a day.Apart from the constant guidance regarding voice culture,pitching,compositions…..I also impart grooming sessions and diction classes where,they can learn the various nuances of the languages which form the basis of numerous compositions.
Food,a very basic ingredient is given adequate importance.The students are served nutritious food four times a day.A breakfast,lunch,evening snack and dinner makes up their culinary day!
Students are expected to be self-sufficient and no pampering by parents are allowed!Their security and well being is my responsibility and apart from any emergencies,they are strictly not permitted to venture out of the workshop premises under any pretext.
Basic medical needs are also looked into and students are not encouraged to stay up late !! No television for 6 days…….!!!
I ,hope I have been able to answer your questions to a large extent.If you have any further queries,please feel free to get in touch.
Wishing you the best,
Topics CoveredBasics of Voice throw,control,modulation
Raga based knowledge
Traits of Kasur-Patiala Gayaki
Pronunciation and Diction
Who should attendAnybody who is above 7 years old and can understand instructions.
Pre-requisitesNo parental interference will be entertained.
What you need to bring1.Music copy
5.Basic medicines for stomach upset,cold and fever
6.Clothes to combat the Winter in Midnapore and loads of positive thoughts and a will to make the most of the 6 days residential workshop!!
Key TakeawaysThe students will be equipped to face the audience with much more confidence than earlier and the newcomers will understand the value of discipline!