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Teaching Carnatic - In India, teaching carnatic music is a way of life - teachers follow how their teachers taught them, an established system of meeting students every day, singing, asking them to perform or sing back, and working diligently and individually with serious students. Teachers who teach only young children are rare or often have other jobs on the side, and the best artists are too often primarily performers and only then teachers. But outside India, things are different. Most teachers have studied music in India, meet their students weekly at best, and teach children and adults often interested in learning for learning's sake, not to become acclaimed artists. Of course, some students do wish to be great artists, so a teacher has to accommodate all types of students, whether in a group or individually. How do you meet these demands? Here is some advice, given to me and collected by observing my teachers in the US over the years. Much of the recent information is from Anu Suresh, who is a wonderful teacher for students young and old.

If you are a teacher or student and have more ideas, please send them in.

General guidelines
Special tips for teaching children
Special tips for teaching adults
Freebies for teachers!

Teaching tips




  • If you're a teacher, recognize and motivate your students (or even other teachers) with a certificate. Download this colorful printable certificate now (you'll need Adobe Acrobat to view or print it).
  • Teachers and students can print these great labels to be used as stickers or buttons. Print them in full color for the best effect! Download by clicking here (you'll need Adobe Acrobat to view or print it).
  • More stickers! Print these mini stickers you can use to mark off your practice on assignment sheets or just decorate whatever you want! Click here to download (you'll need Adobe Acrobat to view or print it).
  • When you want to write down (by hand) lyrics in class or out, keep a few of these Notebook Sheets around. You'll remember to write down the date and collect relevant information about each song (you'll need Adobe Acrobat to view or print it).
  • Teachers can use these handy Assignment Sheets to keep track of homework and whether a student has practiced. Write in the date and what should be practiced for the week. Get parents (or students themselves) to check off the days they practiced, sign off. For a fun twist, use small stickers to mark off the practice days (you'll need Adobe Acrobat to view or print the sheet).
  • Whether you're a teacher or student, you can write down songs from concerts and look up their ragas and information about them later. You can also use our great concert notes to plan your own concert or help record the pieces you performed. Print up several copies or even several to a page and take them with you (you'll need Adobe Acrobat to view or print the sheet).

Carnatic Lessons
Before you begin
Lesson 1: sarali varisai
Lesson 2: janTai varisai
Lesson 3: daaTu varisai
Lesson 4: mElstaayi varisai
Lesson 5: mandrastaayi varisai
Lesson 6: alankaaram
how to practice
download zipped audio
teaching music
download and print lessons
teachers list

Suggestions? Comments? Contact us

updated on 03/20/2009