Music… Why Just Listen?

“Without music, life would be a mistake.” –Fredriche Nietzsche

Learning Sitar has been a life changing experience

Let me modify this quote for music connoisseurs – “Without learning music, life would be a mistake.”  If you cannot spend even a day without your favourite songs or discovering something worthwhile to listen, if listening to music is a ritual of paramount significance, if music is your panacea, your raison d’etre… then it’s time that you learn it.

Once you start learning music, no song or piece of music will ever be the same.  You will look at every song with a different perspective.  You will appreciate the minute details in a good piece of music & your respect for music-makers will increase by leaps & bounds. You will be flabbergasted & amazed when you listen to vocalists changing scales with utmost ease or instrumentalists playing with a speed that causes persistence of vision.  You will worship them because only after learning music, you would know how many years of concentrated effort it took to reach that level.

Music, in its own unique way, is a harmonious blend of art & science.  Art, because it is limitless, it empowers your imagination.  It has no definite form; it communicates in a highly creative way & it is an expression of the inexplicable.  Science, because it is based on sounds, frequencies, scales & their fixed sets.  There is, in fact, a lot of science behind the emanation of sounds in terms of vocals as well as instruments (hence, now we also have ‘sound engineers’).


In Science, life begins with the most basic structure as a ‘cell’ & evolves to an intricate collection of cells forming plant & animal bodies with complex functions.  Similarly, music begins with the most basic structure as a note or a beat & evolves to an intricate collection of notes & beats forming a raag or a song.  Indian Classical music has provided a rich collection of Raagas which are not only beautiful & independent on their own but also make a strong & wholesome framework for creating derived music.

Playing Sitar

Listening to music alters our mood, it can make us feel euphoric, sorrowful, romantic or rebellious but learning music connects us to our soul.  I don’t know the exact definition of ‘connecting to soul’ but I think they are those few moments when the mind is free of all thoughts & we can feel ourselves directly communicating with a deeper layer of the psyche.  It is like meditation of a different kind.  Undoubtedly, that is how music brings peace & restores balance.

Even with all its far-reaching benefits & conspicuous complexities, music is easily accessible to everyone in India.  Every locality in every city or town will have a teacher or an academy teaching at least Synthesizer or Harmonium, as well as Vocals; a little more search & you would find Gurus teaching Violin, Sitar, Flute, Tabla, etc.  Every village is resplendent with its own folk music emerging from a temple or springing under a tree.  Hence, it is all the more relevant to grab this readily available treasure & give more meaning to your passion.

Learning music is an adventure, albeit one doesn’t need to travel to far-off places to experience it.  It is a journey with multiple pathways & without an end point, which is why there is nothing to lose, only gain.  So, enroll yourself with a teacher or an academy nearby & start learning.  Absorb every note, assimilate every tune & lose yourself in every rhythm.  There will be easy days & there will be difficult days but go with the flow.  Enjoy every moment of the experience…  And that is how music will teach you the biggest lesson of life.

With Shri. Govind Powale & Mrs. Smita Kharade

With my music teacher Mrs. Smita Kharade & her 85-year old father & guru Shri. Govind Powale, who believes that he is alive because he still sings.  Shri. Govind Powale is a Marathi musician & composer; he & his family run a music school ‘Govind Powale Sangeet Mandir’ in Mumbai & Pune, where they teach Vocals, Harmonium, Violin & Sitar.