For musicians, priming voice alone is not enough

For musicians, a great deal of effort goes into preparing for the music season. Not just in terms of equipping themselves musically, but also taking measures consciously to stay fit physically and mentally is what almost every musician tries to achieve during the music season. With increasing number of concerts and festivals, with rising expectations from the rasikas, what is going on in the minds of the musicians? Let’s take a sneak peak!

Thousands of concerts happen within just these 30-odd days. So it’s every artiste’s dream to sing or perform compositions that will touch the hearts of the rasikas and linger in their minds forever. A common practice is to revisit old recordings of the lessons that they have learnt and listen to vintage concerts.

“I go over the lyrics of keerthanas that I have shelved for years. I sing 14 concerts starting with Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan on December 1 till January 3. So, it is a lot of pressure since we have to match the expectations of the people. However, right now, I am living in a world of seven swaras, nothing else matters to me as much,” says Sudha Ragunathan.

Some of the main artistes try to bring down the number of concerts that they perform during December to ensure that they are at their best every time they appear on stage while the younger lot, or the upcoming musicians, consider every single opportunity important and try to get acceptance from as many sabhas and rasikas as possible.

For an accompanying artiste, it’s a totally different scene. Performing at least two concerts a day is almost inevitable.

Says Ghatam Karthik, “I think I am playing for about 50-60 concerts this December. I need to take good care of my instruments… so I use 15 different ghatams. I just try to rest as much as I can between the concerts and I also take it one at a time and focus just on that particular concert.”

Well, it is definitely a tough task to stay fit physically, mentally and perform consistently, more so because the weather by default is not too nice on the voice or the instruments. “I measure and watch what I eat and it’s mostly bland food. Then, I do yoga rigorously and increase the time I spend on meditation. When I want to shut off music from my mind for a few hours, I read,” says Sudha Ragunathan with a smile. Ghatam Karthik, keeping it very simple, says, “Good sleep is the key.”
Just as musicians are fully charged before the curtains go up for the season, rasikas are all excited about listening to their favourite artistes and spotting the new star musician of the year.

With a whole range of venues and different kinds of rasikas, to make it to the top 15 artistes, I feel consistent performance is the key. In an otherwise niche market, each of us constantly work towards carving a niche for our own self. On that note, I am already raring to go... The December season is here and let’s look forward to being in a musical Chennai!

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