Pt. Shantilal Shah with Tabla Students at the Children's Museum of Houston

Tabla Students Perform at Houston Children’s Museum

It has become a tradition of sorts for young Tabla students to perform each year at the Houston Children’s Museum. This performance has given a great opportunity for new students to “get their feet wet” in performing. Because the Children’s Museum has many visitors from different nationalities, it also has provided a great way to show Tabla to audiences who may have never heard it before. Our Guru, Pt. Shantilal Shah, is very proud of this concert, as he is of all our student performances, and works with each student preparing them for their performance.

The first group performs

The first group performing with Guru
The first group performs with their Guru

This year Guruji, Pt. Shantilal Shah, selected three groups of students to perform. The first group was composed of students who have been learning for just over a year. Guruji has worked patiently with these students to build a habit of playing with the right technique right from the beginning. They presented the Kaida Dha Dha Tita Dha Dha Tin Na, Taa Taa Tita Dha Dha Dhin Na in taal Teentaal, a 16 beat cycle divided into 4 sections of 4 beats each.

Group 2 takes the stage

The second group performs with their Guru
The second group performs with their Guru

The second group to perform at the Children’s Museum presented a slightly different Kaida in Teentaal, Dha Dha Tira Kita Dha Dha Tin Na, Taa Taa Tira Kita Dha Dha Dhin Na. The difference in this piece is the syllable Tita have been exchanged for Tira Kita which is played in double speed. Guruji created many variations on this theme, moving the basic syllables around to create different, sometimes very complex, patterns. In this way the students not only learn the notes of Tabla, but begin to learn about rhythm, cycle, and tempo.

The final group

Tabla Students Padhant with their Guru
The final group reciting a palta with their Guru

The last group to perform presented a very interesting and traditional performance Kaida in Teentaal. Dha Tita Dha Tita Dha Dha Tita Dhage Tina Kina, Taa Tita Taa Tita Dha Dha Tita Dhage Dhina Gina. This Kaida from the Delhi Gharana has been performed by many great masters of Tabla. It is a very beautiful piece that introduces students to more challenging rhythms and has a lot of potential for creating different patterns. This group also perfomed Padhant, reciting one of their more complicated pieces before playing.

A big thanks to the Children’s Museum of Houston for inviting us to perform for their gusts and also to the Indian Music Society of Houston, who provides their support for our Tabla programs and encourages young students of Indian Classical Music. Please enjoy some more photos from the event below.

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