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Indian Classical Music - Who Can Learn?

No matter how fearsome this word 'Indian Classical music' may sound, believe me it is not Rocket Science. Any classical art form is called "classical" because it has overcome the limitation of time and period.What do I mean by this? Actually that means when something does not get old with the time and stays and grows in the people's mind can be called 'classical'.

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What is Classical?

Here I must say the real-life examples are best understood then words itself. If you are really interested in any of the classical art form then it will be much easier to understand. Some examples are; "Sanskrit" is a classical language, "Hindustani Music" is a classical music form, "Shakespeare's Othello" is a classical novel. Now you might be thinking, what is the comparison between Sanskrit and Shakespeare's work? Actually there isn't any. But they are classical because they did not get old with the time and evolved and being studied immensely after they have been invented.

"Hindustani Classical Music" is been evolving since the period of "Vedas" and "Mahabharata". There are certain evidences, where we find presence of refined music that was enjoyed in those times. Well, I'm not going to discuss music history in this article particularly. Maybe in some future blogs I will elaborate all those periods. But it is important to mention here that "Hindustani Classical Music" is as old as "Samveda" in the Vedic periods. As it is evident, it stays till today, maybe in some developed or changed form and we can definitely call it classical music.

In 11th-century Bharat Muni wrote "Natya Shastra" where he explained everything about theatrics and classical dance. He emphasized on "Bhaav"(Emotions) and "Mudra"(Gestures) in classical dance mainly. But he also dedicated at least two chapters in this book on classical music and discussed it at very good length. Afterwards, Scholars like Matang, Daamodar, Ahobal and many others have given great scriptures and theories on classical music. They all are proved to be landmarks in the evolution of Hindustani classical music.

Is it very difficult?

So next question, ‘Is it very difficult to learn?' Answer, 'No, it's not.

Classical music is certainly NOT "classified music" or "enjoyed by certain class of people" as it is regarded by many people. It is true, that any art form needs to be learnt and mastered with lots of practice and contemplation. But this fact is true to everything you want to learn and master, isn't it? Then why classical music is regarded as classified music or learnt and mastered by only Elite class of the society. It's a myth for sure.

There are hundreds of examples when great music exponent came from very poor as well as uneducated families. Pandit Bhimsen Joshi is one good example of that. Everybody knows that he started his career as a motor mechanic and he did not study in a College or acquired some master or doctorate degree. Do you need any more examples? Such great musician can manifest with such background because of their commitment and hard work towards art. Of course, as it is believed you need to have blessings from your GURU also. Because he's the one who will guide you towards channeled path.

Your determination is also very important factor to decide your destiny. In short, if you have God's given talent, Great Determination and Proper Guidance, then nobody can stop you from becoming a classical musician. No matter, from which background you're coming from.

Is Family Legacy Necessary?

Sometimes it is also believed that people coming from musical families can only become great classical musicians. Certainly not true.I agree, we see a few examples when family legacy helps some musician as they have good teacher and guidance at home at no cost and effort. So, one of the needed factors as I mentioned above are naturally met. But anyone who has Enlightened Guru who can show light of knowledge to his shishya is as equal as the one who has legacy. And why we overlook Talent and Determination factors. They are also equally important. Without them and any Guru or Legacy can not create an able musician or artiste, no matter how enlightened Guru you have. We see many examples of such families

So, you really don't need to come from a family who already knew or performed classical music in order to become a musician. It’s YOU, who is important.


So it is TALENT, DETERMINATION and GUIDANCE which can make you a great classical musician. These are the ingredients needed to crack the nut. If you think you have all of them and a flair for classical music then it's your cup of tea, please drink it.

Posted on Apr 24, 2020

About Author

Raghvendra Bhattacharya

Raghvendra Bhattacharya is a Singer, Composer, Audio Engineer and Teacher. Being an avid learner, he loves to share his knowledge with others who are open to new ideas and learning. He writes, composes, creates, captures, makes, develops and designs on and off his computer on a wide range of topics and area such as Indian Classical Music, Ghazals, Film Scores, Pop Music, Electronic Music, Still Photography, Sound Engineering, Software Training, Video Shooting and Editing, Website development, School Software Management, ERP etc.