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Article: Music, tradition and the Internet -- Part IV

By Haresh Bakshi

In part III of this series, we have seen how times, standards and criteria have changed for Indian classical music. As a direct consequence of this, a new trend has started in the last two or three years, in both Hindustani and Carnatic music: The Internet music lessons, also known as Online coaching.

The Internet music lessons are designed for one student at a time. The Guru establishes contact with the student, anywhere in the world, via the VoIP service. This kind of service is usually FREE. The sound quality over such connections is usually very good. The pre-requisite is fast Internet (broadband) service. There are many VoIP service providers like Skype. The other requirement is a computer with a microphone and speaker(s), and, of course, the Internet connection.

The student and the Guru cannot see each other -- they can only hear each other. This calls for a modified teaching method. Also, the lessons may need to be supported with written material (via email, for example), and recorded material (on a CD, for example). The student would do well to record the Internet lessons, for his later revision. Further, if the Guru has his own web site, the students get easy access to much textual/audio material.

In addition, the student can talk to the Guru using an Internet-based telephony like Lingo, Vonage and many others. Such services usually cover America, Canada, and often the West European countries, at an affordable, flat monthly charge. They do not include India, and so the only option for the Indian teachers/students is the VoIP service.

How good is this Internet learning? The answer is very simple: If you do not have access to a Guru, this system has great potential. I must reiterate that there is no substitute for the Guru-Shishya parampara-based teaching. But let me also hasten to add that, if the student cannot get to learn under a Guru, for reasons discussed in the part III of this series of articles, the Online lessons will "keep the student going". The Guru and the shishya, of course, may never meet each other in person.

For example, this writer, based in U.S.A., has very good and lasting rapport with his "Internet" students located in different states in the U.S., the U.K., Italy, and India. Also, this writer has a web site, and provides textual and audio material if necessary.

The "Internet" student is required to be more self-motivated and more self-disciplined, if he is to make progress. But he will thoroughly enjoy and benefit from his Internet lessons.





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