Listening to Great Music is Half of Learning
I have been very fortunate to have had opportunity to listen to some great music when I was growing up in Mumbai. I woke up every day to some great devotional music on All India Radio. I grew up in time when musical legends like Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle and Mohammed Rafi were in their prime in Bollywood music. I bought my collection of cassettes from Rhythm House in Mumbai with savings from my meager pocket money. I convinced my parents to gift me a great stereo system with turntable when I did well in some academic areas.
I got opportunities to listen to maestros like Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, Pandit Jasraj, Pandita Kishori Amonkar, Pandit Rajan & Sajan Mishra, Pandit Ravi Shankar, Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma live. And then, I got an opportunity to learn from Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia himself and got plenty of opportunities to watch him perform.
I am of a firm belief that I owe a lot to listening to this great music – both consciously and sub-consciously. I highly encourage you to attend live concerts where possible and to listen to as much of recorded music as you can. Even if you intend to learn one form – say Bansuri – make sure you listen to as many forms as possible so that your thinking around music is much more matured.
Pandit Bhimsen Joshi once said in an interview – “A good student is like a thief. He steals good ideas from wherever and whomever possible.” That statement has stayed with me for last 25 years. I hope that you steal great ideas and influences from music listed below. I hope you post in comments section, your own favorite music so that the rest of us benefit from it as well.