Dr Anthea Anand Co-Founder Gurukul sings Raag Bhupali
Stress Free Life www.spicefm.co.uk Uploaded on 1 Jun 2008
Dr Anthea has absorbed Indian Culture at its highest: not in Sari’s and samosas, but in Yoga and Classical Singing and Ayurveda. This rag appears to be very ancient. It is based upon a pentatonic structure that is found in many parts of the world. It is believed by many scholars that the pentatonic scales; of which Bhupali is one, were prevalent in the middle and far-East by the first millennium B.C. This scale has been in China for many centuries; it is also found in the folk music of northern Britain. Yet, it is not clear whether the scale developed independently or spread through cultural interchange. Either way, it has been around for a long time and is very popular. She co-founded Gurukul in Newcastle upon Tyne. www.Gurukul.Org has been set up in the UK to teach Hindustani Music. Singing is more natural than talking.
Ravi Shanker, an eminent instrumentalist says: “In India the voice reigns as the supreme instrument of musical art. Uniquely flexible, expressive and personal, it is the model that the players of other instruments strive to emulate. It is to be found at the heart of India’s vibrant classic genres, an instrument of the present, which, being steeped in tradition, maintains an unbroken continuity with the past. More than any other musical instrument, the voice exemplifies our common humanity and our cultural diversity.”
Having had the fortune of :
1. Being born in India and doing both Physics and Medicine
2. Being a GP for 30 years in the UK
3. Learning Vocal Indian Classical Music here for 15 years
4. Run Music and Arts for Health workshops here I the UK over 10 years
I know the value of singing. I have measured its effect on Brain Waves by EEG.
Traditionally ICM is taught one-to–one by the Guru (teacher) through a process which is like bringing up a child. It is a holistic experience based on trust. Each child is taught according to his/her own nature in a way which opens up their creative and musical potential along with both personal and spiritual development. We believe that music is for everyone and that the human voice is our most powerful instrument for expression.
Adapting to the group learning situation which is very different from the stress-free environment in one-to-one teaching. We took groups of around 30 children from different primary schools.
A workshop begins by showing respect to the Guru and his music through the greeting “Namaste Guruji” with the children sitting cross-legged on the floor in the traditional manner as close to their teachers as possible so they feel part of the Gurukul (or teacher’s family).
The method of learning is by listening and copying. Just as a young child learns to listen, observe and copy his parents so these children are asked to listen to and copy the names and sounds of the notes. Like the children themselves each note has a name:
SA RE GA MA PA DHA NI SA
Do Re Mi Fa SO La Ti Do
Indian music is based on raags — sequences of notes which convey different moods and feelings. Initially the children are taught these notes in Raag Bilawel which is similar to our major scale. They can be sung in various combinations eg
SAG RE REMAGA GAPAMA MADHAPA PANIDHA DHASANI NIRESA
SADHANI NIPADHA DHAMAPA PAGAMA MAREGA GASARE RENISA
The equivalent of these notes in the scale of C Major is
CED DFE EGF FAG GBA ACB BDC
CAB BGA AFG GEF FDE ECD DBC
We explore the effects that different raags create. This was very evident in a school for severely mentally and physically handicapped children where they were all happy singing notes from Raag Bilawel, a late morning raag. When the notes changed to Raag Bhairav, a sombre early morning raag, their faces fell and they looked away and fidgeted. There was great relief with the return of Bilawel. These children also responded well to rhythm, some being able to partake better this way than by using their voice. They really enjoyed the opportunity to actually play the instruments.
The Indian system of music has tremendous potential as an educational experience in both musical and life skills because of the nature of the music itself and the way in which it is taught. Relating to the natural cycles and rhythms of nature it is deeply healing and meditative in character. It is particularly relevant in today’s stressful, materialistic way of living. Anyone can learn. Previous musical experience is not essential and age is no barrier. All the student needs is a desire to learn, an enjoyment of the music, and a willingness to practice. ─Dr Anand anandjee