Our family has a lot of music enthusiasts. My sister-in-law (my older brother’s wife) is a trained vocal artist. Their oldest son (Avyay) has taken training in Mrudanga and Advay has sat around him during his practice sessions several times. My cousin brother, Sujith, plays the Guitar. Another one of my cousins, Suhas, plays drums.
Whenever Advay was in OCampus, he would ofcourse be around Music Jam.
At home we watch movies and listen to music intensely. Everytime he listened to music he would try to point out the instruments using which the composition was made. There was a natural and growing curiosity about music, its composition, mixing etc at home.
Few months ago, at Good Earth – the gated community we live in, a flute teacher by name Nischal started conducting classes. A few people, children and adults alike, in the community joined the class. Our neighbour’s son, Aarav, who is Advay’s age also joined. Nandini asked Advay if he wanted to learn flute. Advay said yes. So, he started attending flute classes.
His training started with learning Sa, Re, Ga, Ma, Pa, Da, Ni, Sa which forms SaraLavarasegaLu. From then on to DhaaTuvarasegaLu and now JhanTivarasegaLu . After this Raagas may start.
Initially he was struggling to hold the flute and render Sa, Re, Ga, Ma, Pa. His hands would ache from having to stretch his fingers to close and open holes in the flute. He would feel stressed in his shoulders from having to hold the flute steady. It didn’t seem as easy as the teacher made it look like to gracefully and smoothly switch fingers across various holes. Added to that he has to modulate his breathing to create proper sounds. It felt like too much body & mind coordination.
It was an effort to keep up the motivation in the beginning. Nandini & I would sit and practice with him during his practice sessions at home. While we practiced together, Advay would often correct us. He would swap between being a learner and being a teacher quite frequently.
Few weeks into the practice, he started to build muscle memory for the flute. His body organized itself to render flute fluently. (Off topic: Advay once asked if one learns flute well, they say that one is fluent in flute. So if one learns to read well, are they going to be called readulent?)
Soon his flute and his class book became part of his luggage wherever he went. He started to notice Sa, Re, Ga, Ma, Pa in songs, statements, music etc. He would attempt to play them in flute. He would also pick up songs that some of the adults in his class were learning, just by looking at them. He started to understand instructions of his teacher. He has now begun to enjoy playing flute. After coming back from every class, he celebrates his progress and looks forward to practicing more and going to the next class.
He has been learning flute for roughly 3 months now. This is his first “classroom” experience for something. With almost anything else he is on and off. But this is one thing that he has been with for several weeks at a stretch.
As a parent, I find myself constantly fighting the mental noise which keeps painting his future around flute. I have to remind myself – “He is enjoying flute right now. And that means that he is enjoying flute right now. He is free to choose how much he enjoys his flute tomorrow, next year and beyond. Let me not brand his future any which way right now!”
March 2019 Update
It has been roughly 7 months since Advay started his flute training. He has been progressing well. His teacher has got him up to Tarasthayi 3rd Lesson. We recently made a video documentation of all that he has learned.