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I overcame the hardships of learning music



Joined: 5/26/2011
Posts: 1
neha_vaingankar
At the age of six, my father took me to my first vocal lesson in Indian Classical music. I auditioned at my music teacher’s home, singing a song from my favorite Disney movie The Little Mermaid. She chuckled at my choice but accepted me as a student. That was the start of my musical journey.
I was at a disadvantage, living in a place where this 12th century art form is not very prevalent. My audience was limited, making it was difficult to keep practicing and stay focused. My teacher and my family, however, encouraged me to persevere.
Few years ago I felt that it was time to enter the competitive league. I won competitions in LA and fortuitously also met my future guru. At age sixteen, I was enjoying my musical vocation and decided to join his music school in Pasadena. Every other weekend, my father drove me two and a half hours each way for lessons. By luck my teacher moved to Irvine, a much shorter distance from my home. Once the lessons began, my teacher worked hard to strengthen my soft voice. At first, I was unable to project without a mic and had difficulties with the volume of my sound. This was extremely frustrating to me and it took me months to develop the voice I wanted. But in the end, I was able to overcome this barrier and attain the proper sound I wanted.
However, as school rolled around, I found myself crunched for time. With academics, varsity sports and community service, I was struggling to find time for music practice and often found myself unprepared for my Saturday lessons. My family and I finally decided to stop music after it started taking a toll on my schoolwork. Although this was a temporary break, I was very upset because I felt I had lost an integral part of me. It was difficult for me to all of a sudden stop an activity, which I was previously so engrossed in.
Yet, after some consideration, I found a new light. I was able to join a local orchestra group, who performed primarily popular Indian music. This made things much easier, because, as an accessible group, their hours were flexible and I did not require as much intensive practice. But since then, I have been performing with this fantastic group and although it is not the same as classical music, I am having a great time learning popular songs in various Indian vernacular languages. I realized that I did not have to become a conventional classical artist, but that I could spend less time doing something just as interesting I am passionate about becoming an Hindustani singer but for now, I am content with the compromise I have made.
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