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In order to learn to play ghatam, students must learn how to position the instrument correctly while sitting. The mouth of the pot is placed towards the belly and you play ghatam with your wrist, hand, and nails. An expert teacher can guide the student by adjusting the distance between the mouth and the belly to vary the tone of the instrument. When you switch the part of hand with which you strike the pot, the tone changes. Ghatam is an instrument where it isn’t difficult for a rookie to produce sound, so it can be very beginner-friendly. For the same reason, it is critical to get guidance from an expert teacher to set you on the correct track right from the beginning.
ipassio hosts top ghatam players in the world including senior disciples of T.H. Vikku Vinayakram and others. Learning directly from such senior artists will improve the foundation and improvisation techniques for students. Basics of rhythm and talas will also be covered by the teachers at ipassio. Because the teachers have decades of experience, they would also teach certain performance techniques that can speed up the learning process of students.
From beginner to advanced level of students, classes will be customized to their skill level. Students will be taught the right sitting posture along with the right ghatam positioning method. There are several techniques of striking the instrument with different parts of the hand. Many fingering techniques are also covered. Essential skills that are required for a successful recitation of Ghatam konnakol are taught depending on the teacher. Pertinent to the Carnatic tradition, overall skills required to be a complete musician will also be covered.
Roughly around 500 CE, Sage Valmiki in Ramayana had first mentioned ghatam as an instrument. The sound Ghatam makes has been described in multiple texts including Tamil text Silappatikaram. Throughout history, there have been several cases where pots have been used as instruments. The initial version of ghatam is said to have a membrane covering the mouth, making it an idiophone. But since the folk music practices of the 6th century to now, ghatam has had a membrane on top. It wasn’t until the 19th century that Ghatam was included in South Indian Carnatic classical music performances. In the 1800s, Polagam Chidambara Iyer is said to have conducted the first Ghatam concert, introducing it to Carnatic concerts for the first time ever.
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