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Practice - I

I received numerous email queries from students of music after my earlier blog on Fear Factor, on more specific inputs about how to overcome it. Since this is a huge topic, I may write it in several parts.

Is there a substitute for practice? Not one that I can think of - not even talent/genius, knowledge/scholarship, luck/even God’s grace. Those will supplement practice but be blunted with lack of practice. Even for God's grace, one must prove worthy of it!

Anchor: Practice is the anchor of a truly solid artiste that can make him (or her) weather ill-luck, temporary loss of form, public or media fire, personal confidence crisis or similar storms. With perseverance and practice under good direction, one can overcome even lack of talent, genius, knowledge and scholarship. I have seen numerous people with good work ethics doing better than those endowed with the assets above.

On the other hand, I have seen an umpteen number of talented and brilliant people leading unfulfilled or under-f…

Fear factor in music

Fear is one of the most natural things in music for a lot of people. Some of the greatest artistes (or for that matter, sportsmen or people in other walks of life) face it too. Only two kinds of people are generally fearless – the highly ignorant or the immensely knowledgeable. Great artistes are great not because they are fearless but because they overcome it by dint of hard work in the right direction and mental preparation with the correct attitude.

Types of fear

During one’s musical journey, an analytical person will notice several kinds of fear along the path! A few of them are given below:

• Fear of each note (mostly long sustained plain notes) – some more than the other like Sa, Pa, Ga3, (the major third note) or high notes like S, R, G, M
• Fear of some phrases
• Fear of other friends/family members listening or walking in as we practice
• Fear of other students in class (even those that are not better than us!)
• Fear of guru
• Fear of stage and audience
• Fear of mike (how our own mu…

Musopathy

The Background

The power of sound has fascinated millions over centuries. Certain types of music have been known to reduce  stress, depression, headache etc while other kinds make the opposite happen. Unless one realises that music-mechanics supersede the individual artist  or even the genre of music (classical, pop, jazz etc) that is being heard/rendered the field of  Music Therapy would be consigned to quasi or pseudo scientific alternative (or at best complementary) medicine. On the other hand, if more fundamental laws of physics that are the building blocks of even the highest level of music are objectively studied, the incredibly  precise though complex relationships between music and health could be quantifiably understood and tapped into. 

The need of the hour is quality research in several areas by distinguished specialists and institutions with as much scientific rigour as seen in allopathy. The scientific study and development of this area, which I termed as Musopathy (a la al…

THE COSMIC SOULAR THEORY

One fine morning, I was ruminating over the remarkable manner in which relationships develop between two apparently disparate individuals. How does a child under 10 form a bond with a grand father or grandmother who is decades older? Or vice versa? It is seldom at an intellectual level as there are only a million things that are yet to be on the same plane between the two, though each will make an effort to come down or climb up and meet somewhere. It is not necessarily at the physical level of sexual attractions or the emotional level of ‘falling in love’, even though these are also not out of the equation. Extending this even further, why does a dog form a bond with a specific human being more than others? Or vice versa?

It dawned upon me that the reason is more to do with soular (if I may be permitted to coin the term) compatibility. In other words, it is more about a meeting of souls than a meeting of minds, hearts or bodies. I hasten to add that the soular compatibility is in its…