Tabla is the modern caretaker of an ancient rhythmic tradition that is perhaps 5000 years old. It is the main rythmic instrument in North Indian classical music, but its versatility in all musical styles has enabled it to become the most popular percussion instrument in all of India. Its music involves skillfully composed rhythmic patterns, intriguing compositions, and complex beat structures. The tabla is a highly versatile percussion instrument, which is played solo or in accompaniment with just about any musical instrument. The level of sophistication and tonal beauty it possesses has elevated the instrument to an unmatched status in the world of percussion.
The study of tabla is in the oral tradition and is a continuation of the pakhawaj repertoire, which is thousands of years old, and has developed into a supremely refined style, technique, and literature. The vast oral literature of drumming is divided into two categories, fixed rhythmic compositions and theme and variations. In ancient times, a language was developed using words called bols that were descriptive of the sounds that the drum makes. Some of these words are rooted in Sanskrit and are derived from the vibrations of the universe. Today, there are about sixteen different sounds or bols which are arranged like poetry, first in phrases, then sentences, followed by paragraphs, chapters, and then novels. These literary references are the fixed compositions that have specific names, categories, and meaning to tabla players. A person who studies tabla has to memorize an enormous number of these compositions, and they are preserved in notebooks with only the words and no musical notations. These words or bols are enough information for a tabla player to perform the music. The other technique tabla players use is a theme and variations technique which includes improvisation.
An enormous amount of practice is necessary to be a proficient tabla player. All the professional tabla players today and throughout history have been through intense training, which is why there is a very real common respect and spirituality amongst players who achieve an advanced level of performance.
tabla iS about rhythm, and as a tabla player, you will develop a deep understanding and mastery of rhythm that can be applied to any musical context - Hindustani, Carnatic, and even western music.
A parent's perspective
- Cultural exposure: First and foremost, parents want to expose children born and brought up here in the US to get exposure to a rich cultural tradition with a deep history and heritage. By exposing toddlers to this type of music, we are helping to instill a love and appreciation for culture in them at a very early age.
- Enhanced speech: Most children that grow up in western societies are not able to pronounce quite a few of our syllables – especially rolling the ‘r’s, etc. Learning Carnatic and Hindustani music requires children at an early age to practice these producing these sounds that are unique to our Indian languages.
- Improved cognitive development: Studies have shown that early exposure to music can help improve a child’s cognitive development. This includes areas such as memory, language, and spatial reasoning — irrespective of the type of music — Western, Chinese or Classical Indian music.
- Increased creativity: Both Carnatic and Hindustani music are art forms that encourage creativity and self-expression. By exposing toddlers to this type of music, we are helping to develop their creative minds and encouraging them to think outside the box.
- Improved focus and concentration: Most importantly, learning Carnatic and Hindustani music requires focus and concentration. As toddlers practice and perform, they will develop the ability to focus and concentrate, which are helpful in all areas of their lives.
Why Learn at Raaga School
Carnatic Vocal Student Concerts
We are very proud of all our Students Tots that prepared and performed at our Annual Student Concerts and our workshops
A short introduction to your team members and why their background should inspire potential clients’ confidence.
Come try a lesson with us. See if we are the right school for you.
Most of our students that attend a trial class are inspired to learn Classical Indian Music.