Anusri Mittal

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At age five Anusri attended her brother’s tabla lesson but was powerfully drawn to the melodies of sitars being played nearby. Four years later, in 2010, she found the SPK Academy and began to learn sitar in the Etawah tradition. She was nine years old. However, there was a major obstacle to overcome, as her family moved to China that summer. Thus she became the Academy’s first Skype student, waking up at 6 in the morning to accommodate the time difference. When Anusri finally got the opportunity to study with Ustadji in person at shibirs and workshops, she had yet another obstacle to overcome - her innate shyness. Once again love for the music prevailed as she traveled from her new home in Detroit to learn in Phoenix. Anusri’s progess on the instrument attests to her level of dedication. She presently lives in California.

When you started the sitar, did the influence of your parents affect your decision to learn?

It was my choice to start, but sometimes they would force me to practice. Now I’ve realized that if I want to progress, I need to practice.

Do you enjoy playing sitar?

I do enjoy it. Even if I’m doing something else, I’ll find myself playing taans in my head.

What is your favorite raag?

Yaman.

Have you been to any shibirs?

I attended a shibir many years ago and then one in Phoenix last January. It’s a very creative environment; there’s always people practicing, you can hear sitar everywhere. It’s a perfect time to just focus on sitar.

What are your plans for the future?

I’m graduating from Valencia High School next May, and plan to attend a four-year college, to major in either marketing or international relations. I also want to continue learning Chinese.

Do you have a specific musical goal?

Yes, I want to be able to play all of the pieces where I pull, and do it comfortably.

Do you have any thoughts you’d like to share about the Academy?

SPK Academy has been a great experience, and I’m very happy to have been a part of it for the last eight years. Everyone is very encouraging. And it’s such an honor to learn with Ustadji, I’m very thankful for that.

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Ustadji says Anusri has all the qualities necessary to become a fine sitarist. She has shown both commitment and talent and he encourages her to follow her musical dream.