Friday, March 03, 2006

A Tribute To My Teachers

I just got back from my class this evening. I teach Bharata Natyam, vocal music and instrumental Veena. Today I had a particularly difficult session, wherein I was explaining the finer aspects of Abhinaya or expressions in dance to one of my young disciples. Though a bright student, the girl couldn't get a grasp on the subject. Can't blame her - I guess things will change for the better, with a little time and a lot of effort.

It's at times like these that I really understand just how much trouble my teachers must have taken to mould me and groom me as they have done. I've been in the field of dance for more than two and a half decades and have been playing the Veena since the past 13 years or so. It's only about 8 years since I started teaching, so there's a long, long way ahead and also much to learn. My teahcers, on the other hand, have all the experience of years and years of teaching behind them. To this day, they work tirelessly to ensure that they bring out the best in each of their pupils. They are forever looking at ways they can enhance their students' performance and minimise the minuses. To this day, my classes with my Veena teacher, Smt.Mangalam Muthuswamy, are always something to look forward to. There's always something new to learn every single class - even a piece that has been played a hundred times over, seems to assume a completely new dimension at her hands. It's really incredible how that happens! Not just that, the way she lets me play in regular class and the way she readies me for a performance are two very different things. It's sometimes difficult even to grasp, leave alone reproduce, what she plays with much ease and finesse. This clearly shows her versatility and proves beyond doubt her capabilities.

All these years, I've been very fortunate to have trained under some of the best teachers in the field, both in dance and music. Each one of the students have good and bad points, that are unique to them. To try and weed out the negative and to nurture the positive aspects, is no mean task. Now, as I teach, I understand the true value of the 'bhiksha' that they so graciously granted me. It's only now that I've even begun to realize why the adavus (steps)in dance or the swaras in music occur in the order that they do. Only now do I get insights on why a certain approach is to be taken as regards creativity, what is the right way to compose or choreograph, how far can creativity stretch, so on and so forth.

It's indeed sad that it's difficult to find such dedicated and devoted teachers today. No matter what the field, the teaching profession has not too many takers. A noble profession as this has unfortunately been neglected.

Getting involved in a subject and studying it in great detail is definitely very intellectually stimulating. But teaching, as I see now, has been very helfpul to me. I realise that it's been through these few years of teaching, that I've been able to gain many insights and improve my general attitude towards art. I also consider this an opportunity to try and repay my teachers for the consistent hard work they have put in for me. Of course, I really don't think I would be able to attain even a small fraction of their mastery over the art. All I can wish is to serve the Arts in my every own small, humble way.



Blogger Ganesh said...

very good post SP

"No matter what the field, the teaching profession has not too many takers. A noble profession as this has unfortunately been neglected."

So true that seems to be the case all over the world

3/07/2006 09:57:00 AM  
Blogger Padma said...

Really true...long time since you posted..ofcourse would love to teach one day...i believe one learns more in this process better than the former (as a student)....let me tell u tht learning from mami has always been a pleasure and i consider all of us are fortunate to be her students...but i guess as a student have troubled her to be that way..learning is more fun.... :-)

3/07/2006 06:01:00 PM  
Blogger Viji said...

Beautiful Post, as always! :)
It requires a great deal of patience and expertise to groom a student, in this field more than in any other. And no "Guru Dakshanai" is really enough, for the amount of effort taken, in teaching music or dance. It's great to know that you have been lucky enough to find a good teacher and have been grateful to acknowledge the same. And yeah, my Guru's (G.K.Rajeshwari) creativity and imagination, that takes a song to unprecedented, hitherto unseen levels astounds me time and again. I feel blessed too, to have had a wonderful teacher who had so much of interest in nourishing me and who patiently taught me the nuances in music, despite me giving her difficult times... :)
Keep writing...

3/08/2006 07:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

your post on "teachers" was truly good.... yes, teachers are indeed the silent ladders of a student to, though most of them aren't that way, there were people, who really made a difference in students' lives... i think it is important that we remember the great president of our nation - "dr. radhakrishnan" , since he stands as an epitome of a geat teacher, even to this day....

salutations to all the great teachers of the world!!!

8/17/2007 12:50:00 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home