Nuances say it all

Without the right technique, talent may not be able to put to full use, says violinist R.Kumaresh, who begins a workshop for advanced students of violin, today

July 24, 2014 06:39 pm | Updated 06:39 pm IST - Bangalore

NEGOTIATION WITH THE MASTERS R. Kumaresh Photo: K. Ramesh Babu

NEGOTIATION WITH THE MASTERS R. Kumaresh Photo: K. Ramesh Babu

With an intention of creating a foundational grammatical structure for playing violin as well as any traditional instrument, renowned violinist R. Kumaresh has launched a series of annual workshops aimed at educating advanced level students of violin in the art and technique of playing the instrument.

Titled “Special Master Classes for Advanced Students of Violin”, these lecture demonstrations will be held over three days under the auspices of Home Records. As the project enters into its second year, Kumaresh shares his vision and mission behind this attempt.

Talking about the need…

I have often observed that in spite of their sincere passion students of instrumental music lack the finesse in their renditions. Especially in Carnatic music there is a fixed form of teaching janti varase, sarale varase, alankaara, geete so on and so forth.

These are sahitya-based techniques that are not ideal for instrumental music.

Unless there is a proper technique that is honed in, irrespective of how rigorously a student may train, he will continue to play sub-optimally since the nuances have not been taught to him. This had been on my mind for several years now and in order to address this lacuna I decided on conducting these series of classes and the project took off from last year.

The nuances that needs to be addressed and will be addressed…

Gamakas and their expression on the violin are extremely important. The lectures will focus extensively on this.

Also, there has to be good hand coordination – mannerisms for the left and right hands. Bowing the instrument is not just about moving the bow on the violin! They should be familiarised in the right manner in which the bow needs to be used to produce the right quality of sound.

There are four fingers that are available for use! I have often seen students using only one finger to produce 4-5 notes for a raaga like say Kaanada without understanding that felicity is lost when one could have used the remaining fingers too and produced a higher quality!

The aim of this project…

The world is moving towards open distribution of knowledge and information. This sharing should start happening in the field of Carnatic music too.

Unfortunately, in spite of having several stalwarts like Lalgudi or MSG in the field of violin, the techniques that they had mastered has been lost due to several reasons.

If we need to stop permeating such things, leading artists should start coming forward and openly share their knowledge so that the younger generation may learn them effectively, master them and start exploring further innovative methods. They need not have to wait for several more decades in order for the realization of intricacies to dawn on them.

Our talks are a sincere effort to share what we have learnt and in that process also learn from the participants’ experiences. This will help in creating an invigorating environment for developing indigenous techniques in the field of instrumental music.

The reception obtained when this started…

I am happy with the response we have received. Though there was overwhelming request for admissions, we had to limit the entries as well as stipulate that the classes are only for advanced students.

It takes a certain level of proficiency in the students to be able to appreciate and inculcate the advanced Gamaka renditions that will be addressed. The students were very happy with the knowledge gained and found the experience invaluable.

My brother Ganesh and I were also immensely benefitted by this sharing. This year too we have many interested students applying again and some are travelling from as far as Sri Lanka to attend the classes.

The path ahead…

As mentioned, we want to develop a formal methodology akin to a grammatical framework for teaching instrumental music – all forms of instrumental music and thus restructure the teaching methodology.

This will enable quality environment for performers to develop their distinctive styles as well as for audience to enjoy the pristine form of pleasure that one can feel through their music.

We envision leading stalwarts in various instruments like ghatam, veena, and nadaswaram come together for this venture and contribute with their know-how. Bangalore as a city is vibrant and highly cultured.

We want to create an epicentre here for innovation in instrumental music that will spread far and wide.

The lectures will be held on July 25 to 27 at Ramalalitha Kala Mandira, Banashankari 2nd Stage, Bangalore.

Interested students can register by writing to or call on 9986500823.

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