Why adults should learn Carnatic music
We tend to associate learning Carnatic music with young children.
BENGALURU: We tend to associate learning Carnatic music with young children. And while it is a great idea to start learning music as early as possible, there’s no such thing as “it’s too late” to start learning. Here are some reasons why learning Indian classical music, at any age, comes with many benefits:
- While music for young children leads to improved focus in school and better motor skills, music for elderly people has been shown to improve memory and hearing. In many cases, it has also been shown to offset some of the mental discomforts of ageing.
- Learning Indian classical music builds discipline. Learning to sing or play within a set scale and rhythm is a great way to start working with structure. Working on a sustainable practice schedule develops a sense of discipline, which is a wonderful quality to build at any age.
- It is a great stress buster. Different ragas convey different moods and emotions, and Carnatic music comes with a great range of expressions. Learning to sing or play these ragas is an effective way to recharge.
- It improves listening skills. Identifying ragas is an integral part of learning Carnatic music. Learning and listening to Indian classical music builds your ability to distinguish pitch, melody, tempo, and more.
- Learning Carnatic music connects you to your cultural roots. Each song comes with its own history. You get to learn more about the composer who wrote hundreds of thousands of pieces throughout their lifetime, or the instruments which were made using advanced techniques. Whether you want your child to grow up with this sense of culture, or you yourself want to reconnect with where you come from, learning Carnatic music is a great place to start.
- Picking up a Carnatic music instrument is fun at any age. Whether you’re looking to develop your sense of rhythm with a percussion instrument like the mridangam or want to explore the veena or violin, Carnatic music has a path that you can chart.
As musicians and educators who work with thousands of students across age groups, we stand firmly by the idea that Indian classical music comes with great benefits, and shouldn’t be available only to those from “musical families.” And, while introducing music to children comes with great developmental benefits, learning Carnatic music at any age comes with many tangible takeaways too. Whether you’re looking to start developing your voice, or reconnecting with the violin, there’s no time like the present to get started.
Bindu and Ambi Subramaniam
(The authors run SaPa - the Subramaniam Academy of Performing Arts)