Many music academies exist, but few that rigorously uphold the tradition of the guru-student relationship, or guru-shishya parampara; here at SPK Academy, this is the foremost pillar of our foundation. Though Ustadji uses a variety of more modern techniques, such as Skype, to impart his musical knowledge, the tradition itself remains intact. However, no amount of online lessons can replace the experience of in-person lessons, for it is not only material being taught, by observing the guru, how he lives apart from music, his philosophies, personality, only then can his music be more deeply understood, and ultimately, played.
It is at a shibir, a three-day music camp, where the magic happens, where for those three days, no matter how long it has been, we are instantly at home in the company of our fellow students and Ustadji.
One student writes, “...Shibirs. Weekends away from everything, when I can truly focus on my passion - music. These amazing events give me a chance to spend first hand time with those I consider family, and at the heart of it all is my guru, my Ustad.”
To the newcomer, the first shibir can be very intimidating, but by the third or fourth, one knows what to expect, and what is expected of him or her, but even within the usual shibir schedule, it is really Ustadji’s mood that dictates the flow of the shibir. It is not an easy art, but like all difficult things, every minute of hard work and practice is rewarded in the end. Whether you are simply curious or wish to pursue music seriously, a shibir is the place to experience Ustadji’s music in all its brilliance; it is the place to discover and or deepen musical love.
Workshops provide a shibir-like environment that is accommodating to those who cannot attend shibirs, due to busy work schedules, as well as a supplement to keep students on track as shibirs are usually spaced several months apart. At workshops, students can receive undivided attention from Ustadji.
Skype lessons with Ustadji offer musical training to students who are travelling or unable to attend workshops or shibirs, and are an invaluable tool we can use to stay connected to music.
Senior students Gagandeep and Jay shared their thoughts on Skype lessons.
“I would describe Skype lessons with Ustad ji as a great medium of instruction. It's as real as it can get to replicate a one on one in-person experience of learning from Ustadji. What I like most about Skype classes is that the content of class is tailor-made to suit your individual learning needs. It's Ustadji speciality to come down to the level of the learner, irrespective of his/her proficiency level or command of the instrument.”
“It provides priceless one on one time with Ustadji, something that can be very difficult to obtain during a large shibir or group workshop. When the Shagirds get together, we always ask each other, "Have you had any Skype lessons? What are you working on?”
Each mode of learning offers something unique, but the combination of shibirs, workshops, and Skype lessons fulfills all of a student’s musical needs, making for a complete learning experience.