When I was a child, my parents decided to enroll me in a music school. I was not a musical prodigy, or for that matter, even a promising bathroom singer. In those days, typical after-school activities for girls were to learn music/dance, and for boys, musical instruments. Though normally an amiable child, I detested going to the music class. I was neither good at it nor interested, it was dry and boring.
Another reason is my music lessons used to be on Saturday evenings, the only day when a Hindi movie was broadcasted on TV. There was no Netflix, Youtube, the Internet, or even cable TV. The only TV channel we knew was the good old Doordarshan. Precious Saturday evenings were meant to watch movies and eat chips (i.e homemade chips). I loved watching TV, so much that I would even watch regional movies on Sunday afternoons till I got scolded by one of my parents about too much screen time.
I would make excuses every Saturday not to attend the music class. After around two years, my dear parents kind of gave up on me. They asked whether I would like to continue my music lessons, and my answer was a firm no!
Fast forward to 2018, I was happily married and the mother of two children. Those days, my younger child was prone to severe asthma attacks and we were looking for alternative ways to strengthen his lungs. We read classical music and Yoga helps with increasing lung capacity and decided to introduce him to both disciplines. As he was young and a little shy, I would sit with him in his music class. I would sing with him and practice with him every day for hours. To my surprise, the same seven notes that could never invoke any emotion in me before started casting their spell, I was mesmerized.
Each swar (musical note) has a vibration, and when I sing I would feel those vibrations in my body. A simple sargam could fill me with joy, or bring tears of gratitude. I also had discovered my interest in spirituality by then. I could sense how intricately classical music is associated with yoga and meditation. My interest deepened and I started reading more about how Indian music is connected to spirituality.
I was amazed to learn that, traditionally, before every riyaaz, classical musicians would chant Om for hours before they even utter the first note, and it didn’t matter which religion they belonged to. This practice is still prevalent in musical gharanas across the Indian subcontinent. I read each swar (musical note) is associated with a chakra (energy center) in our body and different ragas are designed to activate/balance these energy centers.
I have not experienced it yet, but I have experienced the healing power of music. I also learned the importance of synchronized breathing and posture while singing. Discipline, rhythm, and mindfulness are the core precepts of classical music. The more I read about it more I feel the awe of our rich cultural heritage. So, I formally resumed my musical training again from Jan 1st, 2019. This time with reverence and dedication. 🙏
Fast forward to 2021, the kid has been weaned off from all steroids and medications and is continuing with music learning. He absolutely loves it. Ending the post with one of our favourite songs from him and his mom 🙂