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Basics Of Kanjira | How To Play Kanjira Instrument | South Indian Percussion Instruments

by Nerkunam Dr S Sankar

5/5 | 66 Reviews

This course is an introductory course for students wishing to learn the Kanjira, a South Indian percussion instrument from the family of frame drum. It is a small round instrument which is usually 6.5 to 7 inches in diameter, made of lizard skin, stretched over the round shell with jingles attached to the outside of the shell. Kanjira, which can be used for a solo performance, is mostly used for accompanying other instruments and artists, performing the carnatic style of music. This course will teach students playing the Kanjira based on the foundation of the carnatic style of music. Students pursuing this course will learn about the origins of the instrument, hand positioning and the playing techniques. Students completing this beginners course will learn the basics of tala based on the Carnatic style of music and be able to play the kanjira adhering to 4 beat, 8 beat and 16 beat phrases.

  • Course Duration

    28 Weeks

  • Course Level


  • Instruction Language


  • Classes Taken


Taught On

  • Skype

US$24(1-on-1 Class)

per class

(Tax Exclusive)

Recommended - 1 Week = 1 Class

1 Class = 45 minutes

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Educator Profile

Nerkunam Dr S Sankar

16 Years Experience

From: India

  • Teacher Skill Keywords:

    Kanjira, Precursion

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Course Details

This long-term course for beginners, teaching the Kanjira, otherwise referred to as the South Indian tambourine will run for a period of 27 weeks. This course will initiate by introducing students to the Kanjira as a percussion instrument, a brief history of its origin and playing techniques, relating to the hand positioning, finger tapping etc. Further, on the course will teach students the basic structure of talas in Carnatic music. Talas is time-based, rhythmic patterns within a composition. Introduction to the tala structure and 4-week basic lesson for fingering practice. Students undergoing this course will learn about the elements or angas that constitute a tala namely, laghu and avartan, anudrutam, drutam. Further on in the course students will practise 4 beat phrases, 8 beat phrases and 16 beat phrases, e.g of 4 beat tha kita dhum kita. The 4 beat to 16 beats will be covered within a span of 4 to 20 lessons.

After successful completion of this course, students can gear themselves for the next course by Nerkunam Dr S. Sankar: Basics of Kanjira | Level I

About Nerkunam Dr S. Sankar: Hailing from Nerkunam village in Tamil Nadu, Dr.S. Sankar was poised for worldwide acclaim, as a Kanjira artist. He started training in percussion in Carnatic music at the age of 12 under the guidance of Sri. P. T. Subramaniam followed by Sri Srivanchiyam Gopalan. His skills and talent got more lustrous after he took training under renowned Kanjira artist G. Harishankar following the gurukula vasam tradition or residing at the teacher’s residence for the duration of his intensive training. Dr. Sankar, an A graded artist by All India Radio has won many accolades, special among them, winner of the all India competition conducted by All India Radio in 1999, the prestigious Yuva Kala Bharathi from Bharat Kalachar in 2011. Nerkunam Dr. S. Sankar currently resides in Chennai imparting training to students interested in learning the Kanjira. He also oversees the organising of an event devoted to his guru, G. Harishanker, for which he is the convener and secretary.


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