Press Report Indian Express Bombay Wednesday November 22 1995 Learning tabla via the computer
– Shub Deshpande.
Kiran Vyas who has been check these guys out teaching music for several years at his Vyas Sangeet Vidya Mandir in Bombay has developed a special program on his computer that enables students to learn at their own pace, continue practice and even get on to the new lesson without a teacher around.
And if all goes according to plans Vyas will soon have students all over the world making use of his user friendly package and the world of tabla (and perhaps other instruments) will never be the same again.
“Right now we are experimenting with tabla and the sitar but we plan to make this package available for flute and mridangam players as well,” says Vyas before plunging into the details about his project.
For a moment Vyas looks lost as he tries to put it learn here in as simple words as possible. “There are about 45 Bols in tabla” he begins, “Every bol is recorded here. A student of tabla is required to pick up one bol, play it for a duration follow it with the next one and so on“
While some students may pick up a certain bol within a given time they may require more practice with the others. My program is designed to meet the needs of each of my student,” enthuses Vyas.
While synthetic prerecorded compositions have been widely available in the market they lose out on tonal quality. Vyas demonstrates this by playing both. Also a student may not be able to hear a piece as many times as needed without having to rewind.
“Apart from variations of speed a student can access other facilities like practicing a duel item. Usually these items require that the student practices along with the partner to get the real feel of time and rhythm.” says Vyas calling out to some of his students practicing nearby.
The students bring their tablas and settle down eagerly, “I’ll try a new composition on them,” says Vyas punching in commands on his keyboard and then speakers connected to the computer reverberate with the sounds which the students begin tapping out on their tablas concentrating on the sounds.
Press report Bombay Times Tuesday 26 March 1996 Plug In and learn to play the tabla
– Kedar Kamat (Vile-Parle, Mumbai)
Teaching music to a class of 10 to 15 students is no easy task. It is particularly difficult to give individual attention to the students. City-based music teacher Kiran Vyas has found a way around this problem by using a computer to teach music, particularly the tabla. It is a unique method in that it allows students to practice in their homes without the teacher.
Thirty-nine year old Kiran Vyas has been teaching music at the family owned Vyas Sangeet Vidya Mandir in Vile Parle since 1978, The idea of introducing this revolutionary concept in music educations truck Kiran when he heard from a relative visiting the US about digitalised tabla sounds emanating from a PC which helped students learn the instrument.
Kiran then came to know of the Sound Blaster which could convert music-vocal or instrumental-into digitalized sound. He acquired a Sound Blaster and began experimenting on it using the real sounds of a tabla. Once he successfully programmed the real tabla sounds he tasted it among his students-using the computer to teach- and found that the response was overwhelming.
In fact, performance levels shot up. He says that a student who would normally take 10 to 15 sittings to perfect a “Rachna” was now able to do so after just four or five sessions. The tabla is such as instrument that mere reading or learning will not give the student the necessary level of competence, says Kiran Vyas. He has managed feed different tabla scales into the computer which allow him the advantage of having a particular “Rachna” on one scale which can simultaneously be played on all remaining scales.
The students find the computer easy to use also because of the clarity of sound and tone. If students are stuck at a particular phrase which is difficult to understand, they can form a loop of that phrase which can then be played faster, slower or an a higher note continuously or for a few lines, explains Vyas. This enables them to maintain consistency in “Laya” and “Taal”, which gives the computer an edge over the electronic tabla machine available in the market, according to Vyas.
Besides, as the pitch or tone of the tabla matches that of the computer there are no problems of rewinding the tape. Any Rachna can be played for any length of time at variable speeds providing a perfect demonstration to the student as to how a Rachna is to be played and how it should sound, says Kiran.
He now plans to use the computer to teach hand movements for playing the tabla.