A Musician in His Own Right
The Child is the Father of the Man
It is indeed very fortunate for young Prateek to have a guru in his own father. This is a rare privilege that only few people ever enjoy. This is as it should be, his being the only offspring of his parents. Music runs in his veins, as his late mother, was also a talented singer. At thirty one, Prateek has done fairly well for himself. Armed with a Ph.D in instrumental music (sitar) Prateek is currently a faculty member of the Delhi University's Music Department. Alongside, he has given public performances not only in India but in various places abroad. Now he is all set to to become the main exponent of the Senia Gharana (initiated by the legendary maestro, Tansen),and inherit the mantle of his father, Padma Bhushan Pt.Debu Chaudhuri,one of India's brilliant musicians today..
In spite of enormous success at a fairly young age, Prateek still remains an extremely shy and goody goody boy, slightly wary of unwarranted attention. His suave, boyish looks set many a young heart fluttering, among his students and listeners, he confesses. Little else interests him in life other than music. Most of his time is spent at home with his family especially his father, to whom, he says, he owes everything.
In an interview with National Network of Education
, Prateek talks about his career, his hopes and aspirations and the scenario of Indian music in general, in a forthright and candid manner.How much has your father influenced you?
My father's has been the greatest influence on my life. I received training as only the best gurus can offer. Also, my father was able to devote a lot more time to my training than is normally possible. This stood me in good stead as this is what a young and upcoming artist longs for, most. In fact my musical training went on for nearly twenty four hours a day. Interestingly, sometimes when I played in the drawing room, while my father happened to take a shower, he often shouted from the bathroom to tell me where I had struck a wrong note. However, learning from one's father has certain distinct disadvantages. By and large most people tend to compare the two of them. They tend to have very high expectations from the junior artist. Naturally he /she must endeavour to come up to their levels of expectation. Besides, even the smallest faux pas on the part of the young artist is remembered for a long time.Which is better teaching or performing?
Ideally it should be a combination of both. This is because teaching involves a good deal of theoretical knowledge which need to be worked upon practically. It is difficult to say which is better, theory or practice? Any musician ought to have substantial knowledge of both. To excel in music, constant performance has to be there. Performance combined with knowledge will add to your repertoire.Your views on the attitude of students?
Till date I have taught nearly 300 students. Actually my students are a mixed lot. Though there is no dearth of young talent and good students, yet I find a sizeable number among them who are not dedicated towards music. You have to deal with all kinds of youngsters. A teacher may teach well, but the students must also respond. They must be willing to learn. Your views on the prevailing education system?
Some children are confused about the feasibility of music as a full-time career option. Or else they learn music haphazardly from different sources. Instead the ancient system of Guru-Shishya Parampara ought to be revived. One guru-one shishya should be the prevailing norm. Also our higher education system needs to be revamped. Maybe then we could have better products. What is music to you?
To me music is life itself. I can not think of anything else. It has been ingrained in me. Doing something else would be difficult. I cannot imagine what I would have done had I gone into some other field.Your best performance so far?
I do not think I have achieved that as yet. I am not satisfied with what I have achieved till date, even though I have won accolades. You must understand that satisfaction or complacency virtually sounds the death-knell for any performing artist. The day you feel satisfied, you are dead. It is the desire to excel, to achieve perfection that propels you forward. It is an on going learning process. Everyday you learn something new. Music is so vast that you can hardly attain perfection. There are nearly a hundred ways of playing one particular Raaga. Nowadays,unfortuntely, a good number of musicians have become materialistic. Music is not a magic trick. One cannot become a musician overnight. A good deal of patience and devotion is required. Knowledge of music is like the depths of an ocean. To succeed, one needs to plumb the unfathomable depths. What do you think are the basic traits of a musician nowadays?
Nowadays most musicians are fairly well educated and more or less enjoy a certain degree of affluence. Nowadays, an artist lays a lot of emphasis on self management. Next, Public Relations plays a key role in the success or failure of an artist. There are a lot of expenses incurred for spreading awareness and gathering publicity. The internet has become a dominant factor in the life of a modern artist. He also needs to be be well travelled. Yet another crucial factor for any upcoming artist is the development of his personality. Above all an artist /musician must be eloquent enough in order to explain his art to the people.Will you impart your musical skills to your own progeny?
I believe they will imbibe it automatically, because our house is forever full of music. But I will never force them to take up music as a full-time profession. That is because I believe using force or coercive methods ultimately leads to rejection and revolt. Anyway, I think they will have plenty of opportunities for learning music. Your message to the youth of today?
Turn to music with an open unbiased mind. Learn music with whole-hearted devotion, to discover how beautiful it really is. Never turn away from music. It does take a lot of time, but under proper guidance, classical music can become far more comprehensible than it normally is, to the layman. Slowly you will find yourself getting addicted. Pop music is easy to comprehend and has instant appeal. But (Indian) classical music has a charm that is eternal, transcending the barriers of time. I would appeal to the people to try appreciating of genuine, substantial good quality music instead of getting carried away by the jugglery of some petty artists, sometimes.