Welcome to the Octaves Online YouTube channel! Today, we will be covering some basics about playing the tabla. If you are a music learner interested in mastering this instrument, it’s important to understand what to wear and how to position yourself for optimal practice sessions.
Comfort is key when it comes to extended tabla practice sessions. To ensure you can sit and play for long hours without any discomfort, it’s recommended to wear loose and comfortable clothing. Avoid tight jeans or any attire that may restrict your legs. Instead, opt for track pants or shorts. While traditional Indian wear like a kurta and pyjama is suitable for concerts and musical gatherings, it’s not necessary during practice sessions. I personally prefer wearing shorts and a t-shirt for maximum comfort during long hours of practice.
Now, let’s talk about the proper sitting posture. When you sit to play the tabla, make sure to cross your legs comfortably, just like how I’m sitting right now. Your back should be straight, with your spine comfortably erect. Avoid slouching or stretching your back too tight. Imagine your shoulders hanging on your spine, just like a shirt hangs on a cloth hanger. This relaxed posture will ensure a comfortable and natural position for playing.
The placement of the tabla in front of you is crucial. The right drum (tabla) should be positioned in such a way that the inner side of the playing area aligns with the center of your body. The left drum (dagga) should be placed right next to the tabla, with the possibility of touching each other or having a small gap in between. Either placement is acceptable. Remember not to have the tabla and dagga facing you directly. Keep them straight or slightly tilted away from you.
Now, let’s focus on the position of your hands. When you place your hands on the tabla, ensure that your shoulders are relaxed, and your hands are comfortably folded at the elbow. From the elbow to your fingertips, there should be no sideways bend in your wrist. Avoid bending your hand sideways, as it can strain your nerves unnecessarily. Keep your hand straight, aligning your fingers with your forearm. The same principles apply to your left hand on the dagga.
While playing the tabla, the natural angle of your hand should be maintained. Your wrist can move up and down, but never bend it sideways. Keep your wrist straight and flat on the tabla surface. Remember to keep your elbow comfortably folded, ensuring it does not go higher than your wrist. The left hand should be positioned with the wrist next to the black circle (shahi) on the dagga. Note that the shahi of the dagga is off-center, so place your hand in a way that provides a broader part of the dagga for your hand to rest. Keep your hand relaxed and rested, extending all the way to the edge of the dagga.
By following these guidelines for clothing, posture, tabla placement, and hand positioning, you will create an ideal environment for practicing the tabla. Remember to maintain a relaxed and comfortable stance throughout your practice sessions, allowing for optimal learning and improvement. Happy tabla playing!