Harmonium has been there in the Indian subcontinent for a very long period. Apart from being used in serene compositions, it is also used in religious ceremonies and various festive occasions. It is an easy instrument to play but it requires constant practice and hard work and if you are willing to spare your time then don’t worry we have got you covered.
First step is to buy a harmonium.
There are plenty of harmoniums available in the market and you might be inclined towards picking a set whose looks are better but there are other factors also which need to be looked upon while buying a harmonium like you should look for the sound quality, the wood used in making the harmonium, it should be comfortable for you to use and the keys should be as per your requirement. Delhi harmoniums are the most appropriate choice for beginners as they are lightweight, easy to travel with, can be easily maintained and gives a rich warm tone which is the best choice for beginners to start with.
The second step is to position your hands properly.
It is important to position your hands properly if you wish to play the harmonium. While playing your wrist should be in a relaxed manner above the keyboard. Your hands should not lean downwards instead they should be in a firm position. Now, your fingers should be coming from above and should gently slide across the keyboard of the harmonium. No force should be used for pressing the keys as it should be pressed gently. Now, play the harmonium with the tip of your fingers. Remember that your fingers should be in a relaxed position while playing the harmonium. If your fingers are strict and stiff it will result in rough playing.
The third step is to get a basic knowledge about swars.
To master the harmonium you should first know about swars. Swars are musical notes which are produced by pressing the keys of harmonium. As per the indian classical music there are 12 swars these are SA, re (Komal), RE, ga (Komal), GA, MA, ma (Tiver), PA, dha(Komal), DHA, ni (Komal), NI.
In these swaras SA, RE, GA, MA, PA, DHA and NI are the shuddha swaras. Next, re (Komal), ga (Komal), dha(Komal), ni (Komal) are the komal swaras because their frequency is less than shuddha swaras and are one place behind them in the keyboard and finally ma (Tiver) is river swar because its frequency is much more than that of shuddha swaras and is one place ahead of them in the keyboard.
To conclude swaras we get that there are 7 shuddha swaras, 4 komal swaras and 1 tiver swar.
Fourth step is to learn about saptaks.
When the seven notes (that are Sa, Re, Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha, Ni) are played in order it is known as a saptak. There are three main saptaks these are the mandra saptak, Madhya saptak and taar saptak. The mandra saptak is located on the left part of harmonium whereas the Madhya saptak is located in the middle part and the taar saptak is located at the right of the harmonium.
It is important to learn about these saptaks as they work on your vocal activity which gives you peace resulting in a positive impact on your mind and soul.
Fifth step is to get an idea about taals.
Taal is basically a rhythm which keeps on repeating itself. Your music will only sound nice when you are playing it with all the taals and tempo. Taal has various beats which range from 6 to 16 but the most common ones are 6, 8 and 10 beats. On the basis of this, it can be classified as ektaal , tritaal and zaptaal. Ektaal is a cycle consisting of 6 beats, trital is a cycle that is of 8 beats and zaptaal consists of 10 beats.
Sixth step is to practice alankars.
Alankars are different swars that help you to get knowledge of various sounds. There are four types of alankars that you should be familiar with: asthai alankars, amrohi alankars, arohi alankars and sanchari alankars. All of them have their own specific features like asthai alankars helps to return to the initial note, the amrohi alankars is the descending order of notes, arohi alankars are the ascending order and sanchari alankar helps in combining all these elements. It is important to play these alankars with your fingers moving swiftly across the keyboard else it will interfere with the taal.
Remember to keep practising alankars as they help you to be in synchronization which further helps in getting to know the instrument better.
Seventh step is to learn about the theory of the subject.
The theory provides you with all the essential knowledge about the instrument and allows you to be more creative. The fastest way to acquire skills in learning harmonium is by reading and learning. It will only enhance your knowledge about the subject and will allow you to be more comfortable around the instrument. It ensures that you are aware of all the basics and do not face any problems when you apply the knowledge of the subject practically.
Eight step is to learn a song using these techniques.
Now that you are aware of all the techniques that are required for playing you can move onto the next step which is learning a song on the harmonium. It is important to Keep listening to the song that you want to learn so that you can figure out all the taals and alankars and then play it perfectly. All it needs is constant practice and with that you can learn a whole song by yourself.
The ninth step is to practice.
It is very important for you to do constant practice if you want to master the art. Once you begin to practice daily you will see a change in your rhythmic movements and an observable improvement in the pattern in which you play the harmonium. Remember not to give up in case of some errors just keep practising and you will achieve heights.
Tenth step is to get in touch with a good teacher.
It is important to get in touch with a teacher if you wish to improve your skills. The teachers will give you honest feedback and will help you in meeting your goals. But you don’t need to worry as Innwiser provides interactive online classes with one-on-one time with tutors. Here you can easily find a suitable personal teacher of your choice and contact them. Not only this you can also enrol for various webinars, and courses and can attend live classes. This will allow you to perform well because of the guidance given to you by our teachers. Besides, you can also get expert advice about learning music with the finest teachers available at the tip of your fingers.
Also if you are not sure about pursuing this path you can join a short course and explore it for yourself. And based on that you can make a decision whether you want to continue or not.
Q) Is harmonium an Indian instrument?
Although the harmonium was generated in Europe, its importance can be seen in India. It is still used in almost all Indian music genres, particularly in Hindustani music.
Q) How long does it take to learn harmonium?
You can never learn enough. However, with constant practice, you can learn the basics in 3 months but mastering the instrument completely it will take approximately 2-3 years.
Q) Is harmonium easy to learn?
It is the easiest instrument you can start with. Once you are clear with the basics and hand movements you can easily play it with perfection.
Q) Should I prefer taking classes in online or offline mode?
That’s completely your choice. But it is important for you to learn from a teacher who is well-trained and addresses your doubts properly. And with us at Innwiser you can find the finest trainers across India. All you need to do is check their profiles and contact them.
Q) I have some questions in my mind.
Feel free to drop your questions; we will address all your queries and get back to you.