Tabla Tips for Beginners [Tabla Bajaye]

Hello percussionists | Nowadays, percussion instruments likewise are getting to be prominent in the melodic world. Accordingly, while playing the tabla solo, the player turns into the pilot artist. All instrumentalists require extremely high levels of concentration and absolutely brilliant ryhthm. Hitting the right spots on your lovely instrument and tuning it perfectly well to produce sounds that echo throughout whilst matching the beat is art. Spending time with your instrument plays a significant role which definitely shows in performances. Such sorts of exhibitions have some basic tenets for the tabla player, which they should know about. These can be named as the Tips for Tabla Playing.

Seating and posture

Starting with positioning, the player needs to cross legs and sit on the ground maybe with a blanket under, with the daaya(right) and baayan (left) in front, or vice-versa if left handed.
The two drums sit in two rings made out of cloth and stuffed with cloth or material, so that the drums can be oriented to suit the player.

Finger placements

For beginners that have just started to learn the tabla, the most important is to set your fingers right on the head of the tabla. The base of your palm on the baayan(left tabla) should be just wear the Kajal syahi circle ends, and for the right hand the ring finger should be placed on the maidan while your index finger taps the Kinnar to produce a beautiful sound. For the longest time as I remember, just lifting and resting your finger on that same spot for hours was the way forward. Coming back to practice tips we have some tips to go through and one should inculcate these habits for betterment and mastering the instrument.

Tune your instrument well

First up is tuning your instrument to fit the mood or accompanied instrumentalists if any. The sound should fit the key of the song and make test the amount of bass so that it works better with your rhythm. Working within rhythmic cycles is extremely important and sets the whole speed and tempo for the song. “Practice makes a man perfect”, the same can be noticed if a tabla player loses track but is playing the same
tune the next moment. He will know exactly where to catch the rhythm.

Exploring practice sessions

Next up is balancing your practice times. Try to include different themes in your sessions, so you work your bit on everything. One can always mix themes every few days so the same does not get boring after repetition. For example, change locations, play on the terrace, in the garden or in the living room, play for a different audience or sometimes just play in front if the mirror to make sure your posture is correct and arms are not drooping.

Good memory helps in great ways

Remembering the tabla bols (notes) and hitting them at the right place on the head of the tabla is the main part of playing, this comes with continuous practice and correction. One way to always have your bols on your mind is to try and match them with songs you’re listening to or music on the radio, side by side counting the notes on your fingers. One can also repeatedly write them down so as to not forget.

Looking at a piece of paper time to time or reading off a book takes the smile off your face, further reducing concentration. Playing them on the tabla repeatedly without any external music and focussing on the smoothness of your fingers is the best option. Try not to lift your hands too much, tabla is an art of the fingers alone.

Ability to play different highs and lows

You may be aware of the necessity of loudness and prominence while playing the tabla at shows, but its important to do it the correct way not just beating the instrument to make it sound louder. Microphones drastically distort the tabla sounds and reduce the dynamic range which is especially crucial where a tabla is incharge of setting the tone and tempo. Most tablas don’t usually span the whole frequency range, hence it is always recommended to learn on both a high pitched tabla and the low pitched (bass) tabla.

Creativity and melody

One should have the capacity to make lucid melodic states of fixed lengths. while performing , it’s insufficient to begin improvised melody at a particular point in the beat and completing it at another point — the melody made by you needs to sound correct. Also, it needs to bode well at many levels. Solo tabla players need a lot of practice and innovation, one should always remember that Indian classical music give all sorts of liberty for creativity.

Holding onto the rhythm

Another important tip is to understand rhythm and grasp pitch simultaneously. One of the factors in developing this skill is that the all sounds in a players ears, not just tabla but all instrumentalists or vocalists, are a distraction which indirectly takes your attention away from the pitch and rhythm. So the way to work with this is to plug in a headset which is connected to the tabla microphone and then set the surrounding sounds according to your preference. It should sound like you’re trying to match with songs playing at a distance.

Concentration

Finally and the most important tip is concentration. The slightest of distraction can make the tables turn and the song can become totally out of tune. Meditation and repeated sounds of the beats are highly important. After laying out your tabla and before starting to play, meditating for 5-7 minutes or replaying all your bols through your head is the best way to improve concentration.

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