indian-music vocals singing mantras harmonium tabla santoor
Based in Europe (Switzerland) Manish actively offers private and small-group lessons in Switzerland and workshops as general introductory sessions. He also gives music lessons online live, to students around the world.
Manish Vyas is one of the well known musicians from India who has been present in the west with his music for about 20 years. Even though his music has a touch of fusion, the beauty is that he always composes based on Indian music or Indian ragas, in this way not loosing the right elements and the appropriate approach to this ancient musical tradition from India. Relaxed and luminous, he reveals a unique style, which is a synthesis of his rich musical experience, his creativity and his spiritual inclination. As a performing artist for over 25 years now, Manish has traveled extensively in his career having been featured in many of the prestigious venues of Indian music and sacred music (such as mantra and kirtan) and festivals around the globe. His music has the quality of being uplifting always focused on self-elevation and not on entertainment - and this is one of the main differences between eastern and western music, that every student must understand. (More about Manish in his biography.)
Learning Indian music from a professional musician and teacher from India is an entirely different experience and it can give a complete different approach to the learning process and mainly to the understanding of this rich and complex system. Indian music is 'like a different language' in which not only the words have to be understood, but its frame and the culture behind play a key role in the learning and performing of Indian music.
Manish started teaching music in Pune about 20 years ago, to students from all over the world, so he has a vast experience and a patient approach to each student and each class - knowing exactly where the student is standing and giving a program individually, from the place where he or she is standing. Indian music is not only putting a Sanskrit text to a melody. One has to understand how to treat the notes, the voice, the rhythms, the rasa (spirit) and most important, one has to present Indian arts (dance, music, mantra, etc) with the feeling of India. Then one has succeeded. If you sing a mantra and sounds like it is coming from Ireland, then your singing is missing the main ingredient, it is not conveying its essence and true source. And as he always tells all the students: IF YOU WANT TO LEARN SOMETHING, WHATEVER IT MAY BE, LEARN IT FROM THE RIGHT SOURCE, OTHERWISE IT WILL TAKE YOU DOUBLE TIME.
LESSONS VIA ONLINE VIDEO CONFERENCING
To learn and understand Indian music many years are required. It must be approached with patience and persistence and with a good teacher.
With the help of modern technology and hi-speed internet now we have video conferencing is very reliable making the integral quality of sound and visual understanding online possible and effective. We are currently using ZOOM as an online tool for video learning, which enables great audio and the possibility to share material, record the lesson, participate in group, etc. The connection is very simple and fast: the student receives a link before each lessons and simply clicks on it and connect with the ipad, phone, laptop or any device with a camera. If you would like to use another communication other than ZOOM, (like Facetime, Skype, etc.) it is also possible.
The approach of the online classes is very similar to the method of learning in person classes, since the teacher and the students will be communicating and interacting live and spontaneously, although physically being located in two different places. Practice exercises and training suggestions will be given for the following class each time. It is suggested to take once a week or at least twice a month.
Manish approaches the in-person classes as well as online classes with lots of love, dedication and reverence as it is the continuation of the Indian musical lineage which he proudly teaches, trying as well to maintain the transmission of Indian music pure and authentic.
"Namaste Manish, I thank you for being such an amazing teacher and for your great lessons. I feel so fortunate to have been able to follow lessons and receive your digital uploads on you tube and mails. You have amazed and inspired me and for that I am thankful because you are truly a wonderful teacher. As a teacher you gave me tools I need to find growth on my path." (Deva, Netherlands)
Student: could you please suggest best way to learn music or musical instruments?
Manish: Namaste - Thank you for your mail! To learn music, one needs to know where is your natural flow going….towards singing or towards an instrument? If it is instrument, try to feel which one you would like to play the most, what resonates with you the most… and accordingly simply start. When you start learning, simply enjoy the process of learning without focussing on any goal of performing or anything else, just remain patient and keep learning and soon you will fall in love with the instrument and the music. Definitely learn from a teacher, not from books or youtube. It is best to have personal attention and guidance. I wish you the best. Om Shanti Manish Vyas
I felt like I was witnessing something very special.
Richard Wanderman, Washington, Connecticut.
(of a concert with Snatam Kaur where Manish played tabla)
Manish Vyas played tabla humbly in the background for the almost the entire concert. About midway through the concert just as a song was ending the other musicians stopped as they normally would but Manish kept playing, softly at first but then a bit louder. He slowly ramped up to one of the most amazing tabla solos I have ever seen. And, I've seen many including some of the best players in the world, both live and on youTube.. This solo was beyond anything I've ever seen before and stood out as it was the only solo by any member of the group. He played hard for what seemed like ten minutes and the audience was transfixed. When he was done we all gave him a standing ovation, the only applause during the entire concert. I have no idea if this solo is a standard or it was spontaneous but whatever it was, I felt like I was witnessing something very special.
What a wonderful idea to give online lessons!
I am a beginner learning to play harmonium - the skype lessons with Manish and his music have helped me to give a wholesome picture to Indian music, and it was very useful to learn singing with harmonium at the same time. It's hard to find a good teacher in South Africa. Thank you Manish !
Finally i found the right source
Sita, Zuerich, CH
For years i was going around trying to find teachers of mantra - and i kept finding only westener mantra singers who later i realized are not even able to pronounce the word 'kirtan' correctly. I saw an article in the Jet Airways magazine about Manish Vyas while flying back to Switzerland... and due to my interest in Indian music, i checked his website. To my shock and great surprise he was living in Switzerland. So i started taking lessons right away, and i must say that finally i found in him a reliable teacher of Indian music. Not only he knows a lot, but also he knows how to organize the classes, when to advance and when to wait, he incorporates concepts of raga and rhythm that are key in Indian music... so the whole palette is really good. Of course, this is indian music, so the student first has to learn to be patient, trust his teacher and practice a lot.
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Teaching should be a vocation and not just a professional occupation. Look for a musician who is also actively pursuing a musical career -even when it is not on a professional level. If you intent to learn Indian music, look for a teacher who has lived and learnt most of his life in India and has learnt music from a true source for many years... at least 15 if not more. If you are interested, feel free to take the time to ask whatever questions you have. It is possible also to organize a short skype call with Manish if you have specific doubts or questions about embarking in the wonderful but not easy world of Indian music.
Mastering Indian music requires repetition, years of practice, patience, trust, passion, love and a humble undemanding attitude, free of 'fast' expectations. Indian music also doesn't have a goal. If one wants to learn 'to teach' or to 'perform' it is the wrong approach to Indian arts.
This is just the nature of Indian music learning - and how the music is passed from generation to generation through a teacher or a music guru, as we call in India, paying him utmost respect and gratitude for sharing such a treasure, being faithful and trusting this teacher along this wonderful path.
A note about learning Indian Music
When we learn music from a certain country, region or tradition, we also have to adapt our feeling and perspective and understanding in relation to the place of origin of the music, custom and tradition. For example, if we learn Tango, the attitude, spirit and approach will be very different from learning Jazz or Countryfolk ... If we learn Jodeln, we should learn before a little bit about this Swiss tradition, its culture and how these sounds had been transferred from generations to generations - as well as why these 'calling' sounds started to be used in the first place since 1500s: one should know, for example, that Jodeling was used in the Alps by herders calling their stock and also to communicate between Alpine villages when there was no phone... so its sounds are directly associated to nature, instinct, wilderness, the Swiss dialect... so if one decides to take such discipline, one should deeply understand the feeling, the culture, the scenery that conceived these calls with the use of sound. What i mean to say, is that this is not just about sitting in front of a Harmonium and learn the notes of a song. If anybody is looking for this approach, then he/she should stick to the western music style which will fit their expectations better. I don't mean to be disencourage anybody, but truly my responsibility is to be authentic, and if someone doesn't like to learn the authentic, there are a lot of egoistic teachers out there in the west making a mess of Indian music in their lessons.
In the same way, before embarking in the ancient tradition of Indian sounds, one should learn a little bit about the subject and how the teaching has been passing mainly verbally for thousand of years in a very personalized way. It hurts the most, to see more and more unprepared teachers offering "Mantra lessons on vocal and Harmonium" when they are not even familiar with the Indian musical system (which has nothing to do with the western musical system) neither the Sanskrit language; so they are only misleading students who innocently want to learn... it is a shame to take such entitlement and compromise in such a rich tradition of music from India.
As you maybe know, in India there has never been such concept as Music Conservatory or school because the musical culture is mostly passed from a master to a disciple... and the disciple honors the relationship deeply, fully trusting his teacher and honoring the art. Sometimes the father passes the knowledge to the children, or sometimes one looks for a teacher... in a certain Gharana and we feel really lucky if we are even accepted as a student... many times a teacher will test us before accepting us in his or her Gharana - not for the technicality as much as for the attitude. So it is important to learn and understand a little bit about the Indian musical tradition, and find a teacher who is able to transmit properly the knowledge of music - either vocal or through any Indian instrument, and then be able to make a commitment that will take a lifetime learning, because this music world is so vast that one can never stop being a student.
Learning Indian Music is a Process, not a Goal.
If you see learning as a process, you’ll appreciate the small victories and insights along the way.
This will drive you to constantly move forward.
"baithak", our teaching space in gossau, st. gallen
The true energy and tradition of India teaches "how to be a student," how to be a disciple. No tradition in India teaches "how to be a teacher" - the focus is to be a disciple: simply being in the discipline and energy of the master. Becoming a teacher is never a goal, it’s only a consequence or a by-product of being in the company of a master for many years... and maybe all of a sudden the master will tell the disciple, "now you are ready to share it." It’s not a 'certificate course,' it's the grace and blessing of the master.
This applies to all the wisdom transmitted from India along thousands of years... Music, Mantra, Yoga, Dance, Meditation, etc. One learns to be a disciple, without goals and expectation. This is very difficult in the west, but if one pursues arts and wisdom from India, one should understand it is so. When you decide to learn Indian music, you not only learn notes and techniques... you engage yourself in the whole culture, the whole tradition, the whole vibration of that music... otherwise it will just music ... lacking its soul; like a rose-plant that never blooms.
Indian music is for those who love India (when i say India, i don't refer to touristic Goa or the express-yoga Rishikesh, or seeing the Taj Mahal or going to Kerala for a massage - I mean THE TRUE INDIA) who have trust and patience and no expectations other than enjoying doing this music (this is the right attitude to start with.)
"Although I often incorporate fusion elements in my compositions, the roots of the Indian music remain firm and untouched through all my work, which is based on Ragas, Indian rhythms, ornamentation and other key elements of Indian music. In this way, one is able to match the character and rasa (mood) of that what is being played or sung at its best. That is how the musical presentation of songs, bhajans, mantras, kirtan or other texts from India can always remain authentic and united in body, heart and soul." MV