When Begum Akhtar revealed that Riyaaz can be wearisome even to the most talented

Practice makes perfect. And this rule applies to all. Musicians know that practices can be harsh and monotonous. And only when you start do you realize that beneath enthralling skill and talent lies a foundation of immense hard work, patience and perseverance.The best musicians will tell you so. Here’s Begum Akhtar admitting to the hardships of intense ‘riyaaz’ “Begum Akhtar describes her taaleem or training at the age of 10 or 11 with Ata Mohammad Khan of the Patiala gharana. As is usually the case with early guru-shishya or master-disciple training in Hindustani music, Khan taught her the same repertoire every day for a period of one or one-and-a-half years. Raag Bhairav was taught in the morning, and raag Yaman at night. The morning session would begin at 3 am, which seemed particularly grueling during the winter for the young Begum Akhtar. She remembers that her ustad or teacher would tune the tanpura and place it before her, and she would start singing even when half-asleep.

Clearly, Ata Mohammad Khan was a hard taskmaster as many gurus are wont to be. Begum Akhtar recalls an occasion when she did not like a particular raag and chose not to learn it. In response, her ustad refused to teach her anything else until she learnt the specific composition he had decided chosen for her. He resumed the training after she apologized, and after several entreaties.”

Such episodes are found common among the best musicians in any genre. Talent can only take you so far. Skill is also hard work!

(Quoted from Scroll)

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