Wednesday, July 2, 2008

My special notebook of Basic Swara Exercises

A few days back when I was teaching my daughter to sing fundamental Swara exercises, I suddenly remembered having maintained a notebook of such exercises as a student, when I was undergoing lessons in violin from none other than Lalgudi Sri.Jayaraman !

With so much excitement I took the book and started reading it page after page(I still remember- it was only then that I had started using a fountain pen and hence was very excited about writing on each page with a pen :-)).

Now for a brief description of those memorable days:

I was very fortunate to have had foundation lessons in violin playing from the maestro.
We were living inside the IIT Campus and I used to take a PTC bus( Bus 5B)from IIT to T.Nagar. We were always supposed to play only with our own violins, so I used to carry it with great care for each class !

Class sessions not only included playing, but also sitting postures, holding the violin and the bow properly, proper facial expressions during playing and so on ! I used to shake like a leaf standing in front of him ! He always used to pose small riddles and mathematical puzzles and would expect immediate and accurate answers ! I continued lessons with Shri.Nagarajan (disciple of Lalgudi Mama) and once in two weeks, I had to play all the lessons in front of Lalgudi Mama !
These classes were an experience by itself !

After a few years, Lalgudi Mama directed me to Smt.T.Rukmini, saying that this would be more convenient for me, as I would not have to travel long distances for each class. He also added that he suggested this mainly because hers was the same style of playing as his.

Classes with Mami were always so nice ! Mami would first teach me to sing the song and then play the same on the violin. I still remember- before each class, whenever I entered her house, she would ask, "Ippo dhane school poittu vandhiruppa nee, tiffin edhavadhu saaptiyaa?" In case I said No, she would first force me to eat something and only then start class ! So much caring Mami would always be!

Well, these were the sweet memories which I recollected as I went through my Swara Exercises book !! With a smile I told all these to my daughter and resumed my classes for her.


Sathej said...

Thats really nicely written :) An awe-inspiring personality indeed-Lalgudi Mama. Mathematical puzzles and riddles-have heard from quite a few people that he used to do this. Notebook for Swaram exercises-thats interesting as well:) Nostalgic memories-these would have been, for sure. We all have a few moments like these that we would cherish for long.

Vandhana said...

This is Vandhana. I just was glancing at this blog and found this article quite interesting. It indeed shows the efforts and commitment you have taken to pursue your violin classes. They are defined portrayals of the interest and the affection that gurus show to their disciples. Its really nice to note that you have been well catered to by your gurus and am sure too that all these memories would be cherishable ones. Nice to read mami's care and concern of her students. Hope your daughter too would set her footprints on the sands of time.....

Gayathri Girish said...

Yes, those moments are indeed unforgettable. Rukmini Mami was one of the most affectionate and lenient Gurus one could come across ! I have been very fortunate to have had such Gurus. I had to give up my lessons in violin in due course because I started getting busy giving full fledged vocal concerts by then.


Hi, Vandhana, glad to see you here, on my blog ! A Hearty Welcome to you !
If one needs to achieve something in life, he/she has to put in the best of efforts possible. I have always believed in hard work.
By God's grace, my children should have sustained interest and passion towards this noble form of art.

Maha said...

Madam..Indeed nice to know that you've been blogging..This is Mahalakshmi and i live in Chennai.. i'm very very very keen and mad aboutlearning Hindustani Music.. Searching a Guru for the same..I'd really be pleased if you could suggest anyone who takes classes on Hindustani Vocal in Chennai and let me know their location or contact no. if possible ..Thnaks a ton in advance!


Gayathri Girish said...

Hi Maha,

I know a few people who might be willing to take classes in Hindustani Music. Do you want to learn from the basics or have you been learning in the past? Please do email on this, I will definitely help you out.


Padma said...

Hi...I was surfing and trying to find if any carnatic vocalists was maintaining a blog...Well its nice to read that you have penned down your experience of learning legends Lalgudi sir and ofcourse Rukmani Ma'm...Great to know that you did learn violin though for a brief period...Finally every other piece here is very well written and it was pleasure reading...

Gayathri Girish said...

Thanks Padma. Keep reading my blog.Its great having such feedback!

Gayathri Girish said...

Dear Maha,

Yet to hear from you. Did you find a suitable teacher?

Prasanna said...

Hello Ms.Gayathri,

Happy Vijayadasami!Thanks for taking time to maintain this wonderful blog.It's indeed useful to fans of this great tradition of carnatic music.

I am a violin student based in Singapore and have a query:

What's the way to identify the swaras that form the backbone of a song?Have been told to get a fix of Sa,Pa and move relative to that. But find it tough when I listen to different singers.


Gayathri Girish said...

Hi Prasanna,

Hope you had a great Dussera and Vijayadasami too !

I shall reply to your query as a separate topic very soon because I expect it to be a fairly lengthy reply !

Good luck to you and Regards,


Gayathri Girish said...

Hi Prasanna,
I have replied to your query as a separate post.
Hope this clears your doubt.Please do get in touch with me for any further clarifications.


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