In my formative years as a bits and pieces guitar player I was really hungry to go meet people, learn and imbibe stuff and basically improve. Guess what, other than the used paper shops there was not an iota of inspiration in the great city we called Bombay then. It’s pretty much the same now and if it were not for the free bookstores and videos on the internet the abyss would be absolute reality. As I tried to combine my shaky fundamentals with randomly borrowed material I kind of slowly chugged along learning with every tune I heard and now with every awesome clip on YouTube.
We are endemically wimps in India and will not give back to society unless benefit, this is stark reality. This malaise is rampant in all forms of our society. I had enough of this lethargy and started a guitar club where I set out to share whatever little I knew with anyone willing. Few pals would gather around at a local music store (Bhargavas are very kind to let me do this) and I would then set out to explain why I was playing what I was and how. This was loads of fun because I had never analyzed what I do and I actually learned to slow my thinking down to do this something that is difficult for a nut like me.
It is in my opinion a must to be able to have interactive sessions with musicians because before the loop pedal it was a social activity i.e. to play music. In my city and the rest of India music is just idle recreation and the fall out is a plethora of bands playing original music out of which only a handful have musicians of any caliber. The scene is an imaginary one and people are ‘pushing’ it without understanding that the quality of a musical environment lies in the quality of musical education a facility I never had or could afford. It’s sad because the kids today are really talented and could easily improve themselves with a fraction of work I had to put in.
My small interactive modules held in most of the metros are aimed at bringing the vast guitar community together and playing for the passion we have and improving as we do this. This will in my opinion contribute to having better song writers and the cycle will regenerate a scene. My friends Gino Banks and Jai Row Kavi, the best drummers in the country painstakingly turn up at a drum school where they churn out really competent drummers and are helping the kids find their way with lights on, it’s a commendable effort.
The point and objective is simple, we do not have any great guitar schools as such and before corporates find it viable to have a serious one let’s educate ourselves by forming the community, a discerning one at that. In the cities I have visited including my home Mumbai, the musical fraternity is a fragmented one not allowing the fledgling to have access to a ‘senior’ musician. This can be helped by having these free sessions (free being the operative word) so that people come and shed their inhibitions at my little clinics.
Aimed at replicating your creative vocabulary on the instrument, I believe that knowing the basics will help translate your ideas in a fluid manner. It’s important that those who know better volunteer their time and do something constructive in this building process and generate an army of competent and confident players. This is applicable to all instruments and vocalists; it’s the idealist in me that wants to see a community evolve so there will be gigs I really want to go to. My plan is to be a catalyst in the various cities and then link them together to make a grid and connect all these chaps together. Screw egos let’s face the fact that we are very far behind the other countries in most things other than scamming and better ourselves together. This will most definitely see the evolution of a quality Indian ‘scene’.
Invariably efforts like this raise eyebrows and questions about my motives are rampant, but its bloody free so stop wondering. I need money to travel and eat and that’s about it. So far I have been funding myself and the satisfaction keeps me doing this. My point is to start other players on their own sharing trips and help those who cannot afford paid tutelage. Plans include guitar days with lessons, equipment banter and fun stuff. A nationwide guitar jam competition with great prizes and competent judges is next on the cards with a very detailed plan. To do this, it is important to garner interest not just money. Community building is the objective and if nudists can do it then so can we, have our own commune. It’s a clarion call to the legends to help in this endeavor and improve themselves in the process. I am happy to be a small cog in a regenerative system which will have concerts and events on a regular basis so I can be a child again and get a chance to play.