Report about flute classes in Mylapore Times

Report about flute classes in Mylapore Times

Mylapore Times Report Flute Classes for Vijayadashami 2013 – This is my first Vijayadashami without my flute guru – she left us in Aug. Every Vijayadashami in the morning by 9 AM I used to visit her, and get her blessings. This year, I was pleasantly surprised to get a call a few days before Vijayadashami from the local well-known weekly news magazine, asking if I can be photographed with some of my music (flute) students, for the special – especially covering new students also. Thanks to Mylapore Times for including this photo and the write-up. Though I could not manage to get the entire bunch of my flute students assembled at the same time, due to logistics, thanks are due to those who turned up with some of their parents/other family members, to add to the ‘Vijayadashami Celebrations’ at KESAVA, Oliver Road, who also obliged the photographer’s directions and requirements, on sitting, standing, moving, not moving, and playing the flute ! (in addition to my usual instructions as part of the classes, which covers only the last part !)

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Flute Guru receiving award – Report in Times of India


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Some thoughts, interactions in USA

Experiences in US – Performed 3 cutcheris so far in this trip. Good turnout, and well received by the local Indian audience. The fliers for two of them and one youtube clip are here. One observation is that the youngsters in US seem to be more keen on performing concerts than listening to concerts. (This is similar to the trend in India and Chennai too) There were several talent promotion type of concerts and I had occasion to listen to such young enthusiastic vocalists, mridangam players, violinists, etc., and to share my experiences in music, with some of them.

Here is a link to a clip from one of them …

Bhaskaran NJ 11-Jun-2011[2]

July 2nd Grand Flute Concert (Sri K Bhaskaran)[1]

One of my old friends and fan was very enthusiastic to make me take as an accompanist for mridangam, one of the local youngsters known to him, but when my cutcheri finally got fixed up with a not-so-young local artiste who was perhaps more experienced and accomplished, (due to the organizers suggesting them for my concert, and as I had also known them as fairly experienced ) though I did send them emails wishing the youngster

good luck, and also inviting them to my concert as well as confirming my keenness to encourage him on a next suitable occasion, – none of them turned up for my concert – neither the old-time fan, nor the newly learned youngster mridangam player !!!

I played sruti-bedam – in two concerts – Simhendramadyaman – with illusion of Bowli

and Todi with illusion of Saramati. Gave a short explanation for the former. The accompanists should learn to be ‘aware’, when a sruti-bedam or graham-bedam is being performed manodharmically, and give the support for the moorchana note, to really enhance the experience. I do help them to be aware, usually in concerts, especially in the case of junior artistes. The whole experience of accompanying becomes a lot easier and infinitely more enjoyable for everyone (listeners, self and the accompanied) when the awareness of the artiste is higher. This is not only true, I feel, for a complex manodharmic exposition like graha-bedam, but even for a simple one like Raga Alapana, and most importantly Kalpanaswara accompaniment. ‘Kalpanaswara-accompaniment’ is an impossibility on a melodic instrument and I am amazed today at the way some melodic instrument accompanists in a typical Carnatic Classical Concert literally freak out on this, making a mash (a chow-chow bath ‘kalvai’ as they say back in Bengalooru !) of the kalpana of the main artiste and the accompanist, with the result that nothing is really heard.  Just imagine how, in a vocal duet, – a kalpanaswara accompaniment by the singer-2 would be when singer-1 is performing. It is quite a different aspect for a rhythm accompanist when a free-flow manodharmic kalpanaswara is being perfomed, – he is accompanying only the rhythmic flow of the melody and the exact swaras are immaterial, so it does not sound a kalavai, if he can sense the rhythm of the swaras which by experience they pick up, even if they do not possess singing or melodic performance skills.

K. Bhaskaran

Maryland, USA

Jun 29,  2011

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USA, New opportunities for students of flute

I would be performing some concerts and lecture-demos in Indian Cultural Associations, in the month of Jun / Jul 2011 in USA.  See flyer

Bhaskaran NJ 11-Jun-2011[2] 

Interested students can also attend my concerts and lec-demos which would be mainly in the Boston, NJ, NY, MD, PA, areas. I would also be bringing a few flutes so that if someone in say NJ, NY or MD wants to arrange initiation into flute lessions which I they could continue over VOIP, the foundation can be laid.  

Music lovers, and Indian music who are keen to listen to some of the oldest instruments like the conch and the flute can send me email on or for concert related enquiries and  possibilites. This would be also like a promotional tour on a business visit, and hence would be a prelude to a full-fledged performance tour (with accompanists from Chennai) next year. This time, as I am travelling alone, the accompanists would be local. This would be also another opportunity for budding youngsters from USA who would like to get exposed to the diversity of Indian Classical styles and get some accompanying experience too… (this I mention due to two reasons :

1. I have not been performing live concerts in USA for a long time. The last one in an auditorium was at Hindu Temple Atlanta on 26 Jun 1993, (jointly organized by the Nrupatunga Kannada Koota of Atlanta and the Atlanta chapter of the CMANA, as ‘Purandaradas Day’)  and the last chamber music concert was a few days later in the house of Dr Venkat Devarajan of Texas.

2. I do not represent a style which is one of the ‘well-known’  ‘oft-heard’ styles on the flute like the ‘Mali style’ or the ‘Ramani style’…etc, and…. see #3

3. I believe that the diversity in practical manodharma in concerts is something that has to be preserved meaning that ‘everyone who is a flutist need not play the same style’  or ‘everyone who is a vocalist need not sing in the same style or bani or school’  though there is a tendency among youngsters and learners to somehow select and associate themselves to very strong ‘styled’  or ‘baaanied’  schools,  most obviously for ‘marketing’ purposes, ie., so that people easily can say ‘Oh this is your school, – then you must be good, or you can be featured very well ‘ . In my experience many people say ‘ Who is your guru,  Oh, you are not from this style, then we cant feature you’. This is because people find it difficult to actually listen to the music, listen to their heart and say ‘Yes this music is good, may be we should have a concert of this person’  but rather say, ‘Who is this person, where he has performed, why he has not performed in XXX Sabha n YYY slot. So he must be so-so’ .  and this is the reason so much of  mediocre music tend to be performed and heard, because it is much more rare to be an artistic person and say ‘this is my music’ and keep singing it/ playing it even though people may not feature you like a sensation, due to ‘your style’ or ‘your brand’ being not marketed enough !  (assuming it is not marketed enough)

Ultimately it is not the ‘school or style’ that creates the art, but more the ‘art’ that ‘creates’, and art comes from the beyond, – may be aided by the guru and a great bani could help, but ultimately the artiste need to break himself out and expresses himself, otherwise he is a good technician and less of an ‘artiste’.  These are purely my opinions (obviously) and not any comment on anyone’s style or school or learning etc. I have a great respect for all top vidwans especially the elderly ones, and those of the yester-years…  

Currently confirmed concerts 11 th Jun New Jersey and  SivaVishnu Temple Maryland, 26 th Jun 2011

K Bhaskaran……

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90-year old Flute Guru, still teaching

Mayavaram Saraswathi Ammal still teaches flute at 90 years.

Wonder why none of the music organizations have honoured her. She has not received any Kalaimamanis or Acharya awards etc. It was good to see a report which heaped praise of Veteran lady Kalpakam Swaminathan in the Hindu, about her musicianship, teaching etc etc, in today’s Hindu, reporting her passing away, sadly. Wish artistes and more so aged veterans get spoken about and praised a little bit more while they are still with us. 

Her few honours include felicitation by RAF (Ramani’s Acdemy of Flute  in 2004) and Sri Thyagaraja Sangeetha Vidwath Samajam, Sangeetha Seva Nirata title and one more function organized by her students where veterans like violist M S Anantharama Iyer and Sri BM Sundaram, musicologist hooured her.

Mr Ramesh, Md, OEG releasing the CD, 'Deiveega Paamalai' and being received by Sri. B. M. Sundaram

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Music Classes to the global audience

This is an introductory post to the flute classes that I have been conducting in Chennai directly to aspiring music enthusiasts as well as over the internet using web-based tools like like skype and video chat, over several years …

Here is a sample link :

My classes are typically customised based on the learning skills of the student, and his level of efforts and innate musical-sense. There have been high level students who learn 20- 25 times as fast as an average learner.

Some of the unique aspects of my teaching (if I can call them unique) are a sound grounding in the theory, in the physics of music (for the student who has a science knowledge base to understand them) a grounding of music though based South Indian traditions, is not exclusive of the specialities  of certain related types of music like typically North Indian music. In short I feel that a student of music can be open to get influenced by related traditions and sometimes even enrich his musical understanding and experience by listening and appreciating good points of  other types of music (good means here ‘that which gives a pleasant audio experience to the listener’ )  

The learning also depends on what the students objective is, and there can be definitely an interactive engagement with the student initially before we decide what the students objectives are and where I am positioned to deliver what he would enjoy … I would not hesitate to recommend the student to someone else, for his (or her) learning if necessary. 

For some of my recent students I have combined the flute classes with some breathing practices, (based on ‘pranayama’ or traditional ancient Indian health practices )  and a few of these students also have found that this also helps them with their stress management.

A practice or even a ‘listening session’  of music many times helps the ‘stress problem’ and in some customising of my classes, some people have benefitted from this.  

I do facilitate classes in music in other areas like vocal music etc – though I specialise mainly in flute. Students interested in these areas also could get in touch with me, to work out a customised program, in association with other partners and music teachers.

K. Bhaskaran

Chennai – INDIA

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