I have spent many many years learning to play the Bansuri. It is a very simple instrument to begin with yet the most difficult instrument to master. It is the finest instrument nature has ever produced. As a practitioner of bansuri, we don’t just blow air into it but we blow our pranavayu, ‘the life force’ to make music with it. When the Prana travels through the bamboo reed, it creates the most subtle melody which connects everybody to their soul. This instrument is traditionally taught and learnt through the guru shishya parampara. I followed this tradition with my guru Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia ji for years together. With changing times, is it possible to learn to play Bansuri online? Yes it is possible. I have been teaching hundreds of students across the globe without diluting the sanctity of the tradition. Here I am going to explain the step by step process of learning to play the bansuri at your own pace and get the tutelage online.
Step 1: Buying a flute
The first obvious step towards starting your journey of learning Bansuri is by buying a flute. Remember that if you truly want to enjoy the beautiful journey of learning to play the bansuri, you should invest in a good flute. There are a number of sizes and scales of bansuris. So it can be difficult to know where to start. My advice is to start with a G# flute for an adult as it is ideal for a beginner. For children whose hands are smaller, I suggest you buy a C scale flute. Once you are comfortable with the beginner flute, you can switch to E base flute. You can visit the FAQ section of our The Mystic Bamboo site for details of professional bansuri makers I trust. They procure bamboo from the mountains of the north eastern states, make the bansuri by hand, and deliver it home. The FAQ section also has details of choosing your first bansuri.
Step 2 – Being patient as you practice your first lessons
In the many years I have spent teaching bansuri enthusiasts the foundation of the hindustani classical music and rendering it through the Indian bamboo flute, I have not come across a single student who failed to learn to make music with the bansuri with practice. The bansuri itself is just a hollow bamboo with holes drilled into it. It takes skill to produce sound from the bamboo and then make music. The first few lessons are going to test your patience but you will cross the hurdle just in a few days if you put in the practice that I recommend in the online bansuri classes
Step 3 – Practice
Once you are able to understand how to make the bansuri sing, you will move from one lesson to the next that will get progressively complex. Being able to complete each level shows your progress. I make sure to connect with my online students from time to time either through mentorship workshops that we conduct regularly or through Baithaks where we introduce heavy weights from the music world and give a chance to all the students to interact with them. The online bansuri course is designed to cover every aspect of the learning journey that becomes a hurdle before moving to the next level
Step 4 – Review
There are a couple ways you can review your progress. The easiest way is to ask questions on the mystic bamboo site directly under the online lesson you are currently taking. Another way is to wait for the mentorship sessions and ask your question and get your work reviewed. Either way, I am invested in your journey and will be with you as you explore this wonderful world of bansuri music.
Step 5 – Correction
All students, either online or those who learn in the traditional gurukul model, make mistakes. There is only one way to learn various techniques of playing the bansuri and that is by practicing tens of times. This kind of practice creates strong neural pathways in your brain and when one of the techniques needs a correction, it can be frustrating. Having the patience to deal with this and go through the process of unlearning and learning is part and parcel of learning to play instruments, bansuri is no exception. I am, however, happy to help you go through this blip quickly so you can progress in your lessons.
Apart from the lessons in the online course, I am also very passionate about teaching my students the concepts of hindustani classical music. Please do enroll in the live sessions we regularly have to get a broader understanding of the hindustani tradition and how aspects of them become important to understand as you progress in your learning bansuri.
If you are keen about this art form, I welcome you wholeheartedly to try the first module of the online bansuri course on the mystic bamboo academy free of cost. Get a taste of what is in store and if you feel like this is something you want to learn, I am here to help you through your adventure.