What I have been learning and listening to?

It's been a long time since I came back to my music blog, to the point I really feel I want to write about what I have been listening and learning!

It's been a great first 6 months of the year as far as my journey as a music student is concerned. I think I will be taking the Grade 4/5 exams next year. I am really excited about it and I think it will be a good test of where I stand. I had been learning the varnam "Ninnekori" in Vasanta. One of the early varnams taught to students, it did trouble me a fair bit, mostly because I wasn't putting my efforts to understanding the placement of notes properly. But that's all history now. I have understood how varnams work as a general structure and last week my teacher enjoyed my rendition of Vasanta. If she says she can find her learnings in it, I know I have made it mine! And we have started Navaragamalika varnam, which introduces the concept of ragamalika(garland of ragas) to the students. I have listened to Shri K.J.Yesudas' version of the varnam a thousand times that its etched into my subconscious memory. I am overjoyed to start learning it! I  know I am going to be all emotional when I reach the other end of it!  

But learning has not been stuck there. I learnt a few more kritis meanwhile. I am building up my repertoire of ragas. Carnatic music is like an ocean, I know I will have to be reborn a fair few times, spending each of that lifetime to music alone to understand and master it all, but as far as the student of 4 years in me is concerned, I am at a very happy place. Gaining confidence with every passing day, making music practice (more or less) a routine, and thinking about music A LOT! I think I can certainly feel the change in the way I sing, even a commercial movie song. 

Listening is something I have personally been very strong at. My teacher has been the reason behind it, once I reached the stage of geethams she prompted me to start listening. I listen to all the major ragas, kritis, and even the same kriti rendered by many of our great vocalists. It helps me understand the styles, understand what suits my voice, arrive at my own style pretty early on. It also helps me understand the little nuances which are harder to understand by explanation but clicks straight away once you listen. And overall, my knowledge about music, in general, has increased manifold. My advice to anyone who is learning Carnatic music would listen, listen to as much as you can, think about it. That alone will take you a long long way. 

That's it from me for today! I hope to be back soon with another raga...