I began studying tabla with a Guru fifteen years ago when I was a boy of ten, and continue to be humbled by the tradition, density, and magic that are intrinsic in this study.
I asked my guru to train me to play like the maestros, but he said I lacked mental concentration; I didn’t listen to or enjoy my music. He believed the mind and body must be in sync in order to master the instrument .
My Guru would eagerly listen to a musical piece, then strike ceaselessly until he produced a matching pitch. When he stumbled, he would sit patiently pinpointing his mistake. I never fully understood the importance of this practice until, I saw musicians’ fingers gliding across the head of the drum producing the extraordinary impression of force, immediacy of genius and intensity of passion that left audiences spellbound.
I knew that to become the best at tabla, I needed to display my talent in a similar way. I learned more from observing than I did through years of erratic practice. My Guru pushed me past my limits to show how far I can go. He was the perfect example of how to stay positive in stressful situations. He taught me rhythm.