Thursday, February 16, 2012

Singing lessons: poise matters

My wife and I invited ourselves to Kasi Viswanathan's music class for children (C-804), to get a feel of it. I have no credentials to rate him as music teacher, but we like his approach. Mr Viswanathan's class has students, 11 till now,in the 5-12 age-group, all girls. He is a stickler for form, pays attention to the way his girls sit, their poise, body language, and maintaining eye-contact with teacher.
Mr Viswanathan interrupted the class-singing, to correct the posture, limb movement, eye-contact of a student reflecting her lack of attention. We heard him telling his class lemon-on-the-head anecdote. Mr Viswanathan said he had heard this anecdote from his own guru,whose father was a Trivancore court vidhwan. At a concert in the presence of Maharaja the musician was challenged to give a two-hour concert, with a lemon balanced on his head.
I could appreciate Mr Viswanthan's focus on poise, right from the start,as I watched this lad's stage presence on TV the other day. Incidentally, a Carnatic music contest for juniors is telecast in Jaya TV daily, 5 p m nowadays. The poise and stage presence most of the child contestants display would put to shame some of our celebrity concert singers. I can't see the proverbial lemon staying on Aruna Sairam's head even for a moment (see this YouTube clip)
My Google search while working on this blog post led me to this write-up - 6 Tips for a better singing voice - in which Tip-2 suggests practice session in front of a mirror. Mr Viswanathan says his son, at his modeling school, uses the mirror technique in training models.
My suggestion :1)Teaching children class-room poise could be extended to their general conduct, such as the way they leave footwear at the front-door(in proper place and in a row), greet elders they meet, their guru, and take leave of them.A teacher is better placed than parents in initiating children in social skills.
2) I wish Mr Viswanathan would consider holding music class, once in alternate weeks (say, Friday) at a convenient corner at Mantri central park - on the tiled space near fountain,or the lawns in front of C Block. Seniors, and mothers out in the park in the evening would get a feel of how Mantri's children are doing.

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