Monthly Archives: March 2016

Few Ways to Incline Kids towards Indian Classical Music

The kids of my music premises are the proper west freak. I often interview them why they like western music more than the Indian. One of them shared a piece of experience with me on this, “West songs are a good source to enjoy and share the company of other kids.” Which was a clear and logical answer. The other one quoted, “Indian songs are boring and unknown…and we don’t know Hindi properly.”

We, as kids, were die-heart fans of the then Bollywood songs. We grasped even the minute variations and could easily perform if asked in the public.  Today’s kids are not even aware of the songs like manma emotion, jabra Fan, or even the cheapest songs.

Do what you want your kids to do:

Play any classical track for at least half an hour in the central room music system at home, so the kids grasp the tunes.

A 4 years old girl showed up with her mom when I asked her to sing something. Predictably, she sang a western track and the most intense romantic song Kyu ki tum hi ho. I shared my opinions with her mom on how the kids started liking the romantic tracks. She genuinely replied, “ It’s not their fault. We continuously listen to such songs and then they follow.”  Similarly, parents want their kids to learn Indian music but never give the Indian music environment at home. In fact, studies show that around 75% IT working Indian parents listen to the western singers more but make their kids join Indian classical classes, which compel the kids to make dry faces while the classes. The simplest formula of indoctrinating something in kids is the parents should start executing the same.

‘Classical music’ should be introduced in the schools

In the name of Indian music period, children learn some slow Hindi songs like Humko man ki shakti, Teri hai zameen, etc.,  which can never make them inclined. A proper classical training curriculum should be included in all school as a  serious exam subject right from the age of kindergarten and further, for which the marks matter. This way kids indoctrinate basic elements and grasp the classical tunes and rhythms. Once they grasp and perform and get appreciation, they will automatically hook up to the field.

Classical training made funny, fast and furious:

There are many options for making classical training more  whimsical and engrossing for kids. Classical doesn’t mean singing only serious ragas and tunes. Classical training can be made more funny, interesting more for kids by creating the swara, alankar Palte (note-syllables) more fast and rhythmic. For instance, breath and voice training can be initiated by commanding, “Let’s see if you can hold up till 20 seconds in rendering OM.” The competition imbibe a lot more interest in kids which make them plead for “Mam, I need one more chance.”

Guitarplaying matters

I observe my kid students crazy about the songs like New divide, I walk alone, 21 guns and even more crazier in playing them on the keyboard and guitar. They google the chords and keys curiously and are fulfilled with questions when show up at the class. The psychology and  common pattern in all kids are: if they are able to play any fast rendition (be it classical swaras) or quick songs on any western instrument, preferably guitar and Keyboard, they are likely to get attracted by music forever. For that matter, one can try out teaching the Indian ragas and fast swara-compositions on the guitar. For instance, apart from teaching Raga Bhupali’s ‘SA SA D P G R ….’ Notation bandish, I am up with a Barfi song ‘Itti si hasi’ and I notice their preoccupation and grasp.

Make them dance on the bandish (Raga-songs)

Kids are enthusiastic and playful by some physical activities and melodramatic atmosphere. Vocal music teaching involves sitting which can make them lethargic and heedless. Making them dance or act as krishna-Gopi (as most bandish involve the story of lord Krishna) on the bandish(s) may enhance their vitality and endeavor towards music. They can easily retain the lyrics and tunes of the bandish with these tantrums.

Comparison between the Ragas Bhupali and Shuddha Kalyana

Let’s talk about a few ragas covering  the circumference of the Kalyana Family. Like the members of a family, the ragas share the basic traits but still possess their own individualistic nature, attribute and temperament.

Raga Bhupali and Shuddha Kalyana, both belong to the Kalyana Thata or Kalyana parent raga. Both the ragas are similar in some aspects but differ in a few more characteristic features which make them unique from each other.


  • Raga Bhupali and Shuddha Kalyana share the same thaat.
  • The ascend or Aaroh of both the ragas are pentatonic or Audav, Ma and Ni are omitted.
  • The Vadi (Most important note) and Samvadi (Second important swara) of both are Ga and Dha.
  • The time zone of both is second zone of night.
  • The sustained or Hold note i.e., Nyasa swara in both the ragas are Gandhar (GA)
  • The common note-sturcture in both the ragas are: G P Dh P, Dh SA, Dh P, SRG, RG, G P SAA…


Raga Bhupali Shuddha Kalyaan
Jati – Audav-audav (fully pentatonic) Audav sampoorna (Avroh has all the notes present)
‘P-G’ Pairing is present but in a normal manner without stylization ‘P-G’ goes with a meend or glide
P-R swara pair is not important. Its taken rarely P-R swara-sangati is too much and vocalized with glides and murki as in: (P) R S
Bhupali is not meend-pradhan or glide-oriented This raga is active in having meends or the glide ornamentation
Dhaivata (Dh) is used far more compared to shuddha kalyana Dhaivata is used lesser
Lower or mandra notes go like this: S d p, d S, d S R S, p d S. Lower/mandra notes go: S n d p, S, p d S…

Indian Classical Version of Adelle’s ‘Hello’

Gone are the days when people listened to the good music, appreciated, made it trending and finally the track went adrift in the wind with time. Apart from perceiving, people brood over the track to provide it a unique flavor. Creativity and trying something instinctive is trending implicitly nowadays. Especially, Indian music, when fused with other west genre, has a power of transcending the standards in music. So the formula is quite precise: garnish the track with Indian musical spices and taste the peculiarity.

Think of Adelle’s record breaking super hit track ‘Hello’, which has been synced with an Indian classical version by a few artistes and fusionists and made even that extremely popular. Indian artiste, Mahesh Raghvan decided to give the tremendous desi twist to the song performed by the singer Demi Lovato. The fusion renditions have been initiated by university Marching band along with a two year old toddler who lip-synced to give a pop effect to the song. Adelle’s magic has been taken to a higher level by these artistes.

The blend-effect and the renditions are created through an iPad app which helped with a distinctive sound of flute, Tanpura and Nadaswaram. The serene and matured effect given by these traditional instruments left the track superbly fascinating and heart-stirring.

The creativity has yet not got over. The track has also been accompanied by Mohiniyattam, a classical dance from Kerala. I am immensely proud and excited to share that the dance was performed by an internationally acclaimed, beautiful and a proficient Mohiniyattam dancer and a professor in my department, Dr. Deepthy Omcherry Bhalla. I am so honored to recall my moments with her especially when I had interviewed her regarding my Ph.D thesis.