The Tabla is an exceptional set of drums from India. Due to its uniqueness and versatility, its role in Indian classical music has withstood the test of time. It is a challenging instrument to learn and playing it well requires many hours of rigorous practice under the supervision of an experienced Guru.
Pandit Shantilal Shah (Guruji) is well known in the world of Indian Classical Music. His boundless energy, knowledge and passion for the instrument have made him one of the most successful Tabla Gurus of our time. Through his teaching, he brings the unique tradition of Guru-Shishya Parampara to Houston, TX.
Guruji truly believes anyone can learn to play Tabla and that learning this instrument and music will help students for the rest of their lives. His goal is to train students into skilled and knowledgeable Tabla players who understand music and are mature and disciplined young adults.
Guruji begins teaching new students in small classes, giving close attention to each student. He believes the key to playing well is establishing good technique and maintaining discipline. As a student becomes more advanced, Guruji emphasizes the manner and quality of sound rather than just learning material.
The most fundamental aspect of playing Tabla well is establishing proper technique. This includes posture and correct placement of fingers on both drums (Tabla and Dagga). For new students, Guruji spends most of the first year teaching his classes the core notes and how to play with proper hand placement and technique.
Tabla is an instrument which requires great patience and discipline while learning. Guruji instills these values in his students from the beginning.
Manner over Matter
Today, Tabla material can be found easily. However, the subtleties of playing this material are not easily available and can only be learned by sitting directly with an experienced Guru. Playing any material well (Kaida, Rela, etc.) involves proper technique, stability of rhythm, understanding of cycle, and expression. Along with giving us material, Guruji emphasizes these aspects in his classes.