Guitar workshop at Lonavla to help you pull some strings
If learning to ace a musical instrument is one of your New Year resolutions, sign up for a guitar workshop in the hill station in the foothills of the Sahyadris
Sobo boy Abhishek Shah is living a dual life. Born into a family of music teachers, he’s currently teaching at Furtados School of Music in Bombay, and on weekends, offers short gurukul-like experiences for aspiring musicians, in Lonavla.
Shah was introduced to music when he was four. He dabbled in percussions, keys and the Hawaiian guitar even before he learned to count. Shah started teaching peers when he was 16, as a means to earn pocket money. “I would earn R25 per class! While I was pursuing my graduation, we would jam and tune guitars at coffee shops across Colaba, Cuffe Parade and Shivaji Park,” he recalls. Even after he started working in business development, he continued to teach music.
Go for walks with his dogs and practise rhythms by the river
Then in June 2017 he decided to turn his mother’s holiday home into a musicians’ escape. “I have always loved the outdoors, and here, you can go trekking up the mountains. Also, when you are outdoors, you think more from the creative side rather than the analytical side,” he reasons. “You eat more and focus on the finer aspects of life. For example, if you practise rhythm via clapping near the river and then walk back to the house, you will be able to replicate it.”
That, and the fact that the one-hour weekly classes don’t work anymore. “Today, there are many activities kids opt for, like ballet and chess. So, the time in which the student learns and plays the concept back is quite low in these classes, resulting in ineffective learning. Moreover, motor skills can only work when you are practising regularly,” he explains.
The working room in the gurukul
While the original Gurukul experience involves students needing to stay with their guru for five years, Shah offers a practical two-day engagement. “Generally, people don’t have the discipline for practice and there’s no fixed time for it. Here, students see their teacher practise and feel that they should join, too. It creates a behavioural pattern and is a very Japanese approach,” he elaborates. You can also opt for a longer stay, if you give him ample notice.
Shah recommends an overnight trip, preferably once a month, to get eight hours of learning. “When I cook for the students, they need to practise. We also go cycling, fishing, for walks with five of my dogs, and for short treks to Kalra Caves. By the time the student leaves, his/her motor skills are equal to his/her conceptual skills. The muscle memory will fade, but you will remember it for longer,” he signs off.
At Near Kalra Caves, Lonavala.
Cost Rs 5,000 (all inclusive)
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