Sangeetha Shikshana
A workshop in Bangalore

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Bangalore witnessed a workshop on Carnatic Music in the first week of May 2006. Carnatica Global Gurukulam and Smrithi Nandan Cultural centre organized the 3-day workshop for students of Carnatic Music aspiring to hone their musical skills. This was well attended with around 15 participants.

It was a refreshing and educative workshop conducted by the noted duo Carnatica Brothers – K N Shashikiran & P Ganesh.  Chitra Sherman who is the anchor for the Bangalore chapter of Carnatica coordinated the logistics of the workshop. The venue of the workshop was at Smriti Nandan on Palace road which is really serene and well suited for  Music.

Shashikiran appreciated & thanked Worldspace for sponsoring a program that was value based & non-commercial in nature. The workshop was meticulously planned & all the three days had packed sessions that kept the participants soaking in the divineness. Music is a form of meditation. To re-emphasize this concept, the organizers arranged a session on the “Use of Meditation in Music” by  Arun Madhavan who is the Chairman of the Art of Living Foundation. This was followed by  an address by Sangeetha Kalanidhi R K Srikantan, which highlighted the meditative, creative and intellectual aspects of Carnatic Music.

Shashikiran & Ganesh’s approach to teaching was really commendable & kept the students in rapt attention. They were quick to ascertain the needs of every student & customized the workshop accordingly. The workshop comprised of voice exercises, manodharma singing (raga alapana, swara kalpana, neraval), Laya concepts, 72 Melakartha concepts, pallavi singing, concerts at the end of the day of the workshop etc. The renewed focus of Carnatic Musicians towards voice culture is heartening. Shashikiran trained the students that taught techniques to improve their breathing techniques while singing, shruti alignment, sustaining the stability of the voice, improving the range of the voice across octaves etc. It was stressed that all these would directly benefit students while singing ragas, krithis etc.

Students were advised to sing Akaras, Omkaras in various ragas. Shashikiran demonstrated rapid switching between Mayamalavagowla and Hemavathy. This exercise is good for ragamalika singing & reinforces the position of all twelve swaras in the student’s mind. Shashikiran also taught the participant three krithis - of Tyagaraja, Syama Sastry & Gopalakrishna Bharati.  These were reference krithis for swara kalpana and neraval singing. The workshop was highly interactive, thought provoking and the teachers patiently answered all the queries of the students.

Students really appreciated this facet of Carnatic Music as they had not been exposed earlier to these intricate aspects.
Students were made to sing individually & special counseling was given to improve on their strengths & correct the deficiencies in their singing. All days had concerts at the end of the day. On the first day Naveen Nambuthiri enthralled the audience with a lively concert.  The next day, the Carnatica Brothers gave a concert with an interesting RTP. They all sang Lalithe in Bhairavi, which was appropriate for the occasion as the venue was made available for the occasion by Lalitha Ubhayanker of Smrithi Nandan! On the final day R K Srikantan  sang an RTP with the pallavi lines embedding Lalithe in the sahitya. 


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