Indian Classical Music Workshops


Workshops can be tailored to the needs of various age groups and abilities. Each Workshop covers the fundamental principles of North Indian classical music and demonstrates its application on two of Indian music’s foremost instruments – Sitar and Tabla.

Through the use of traditional oral teaching methods, participants will learn a Raga (Indian scale) and a Taal (Indian rhythmic cycle) and learn how the two are interwoven to create an Indian Classical music performance.

Workshops are particularly effective when combined with a performance. Participants are then able to experience the music in a live performance context played by professional musicians. This gives a deeper insight into the dialogue between the musicians and their instruments and the ways that the music moves between composed and improvised forms. Performances can also be followed by a question & answer type discussion session, where participants can ask the musicians about the music, instruments, approaches to performance, and practice etc.

These workshops are run together with tabla player Jon Sterckx – The workshops give a comprehensive introduction to North Indian music, through the experience of melody (Raga) and rhythm (Taal) and the relationship between the two. Workshops can also include a professional Sitar & Tabla performance.

Discussed and demonstrated within each workshop will be:


  • Tuning & approach to pitch and scale
  • Structure of a Raga
  • Structure of a Taal
  • Indian music approaches to composition
  • Indian music approaches to improvisation
  • Application of oral notation – participation through speaking
  • Rhythmic syllables & singing scales and melodies

Please note that due to the fragile nature of the instruments they are not for ‘hands on’ use by participants. Participation is through oral methods as described above.

1to1 Sitar Tuition

studio-smlElementary level lessons, each lesson costs £40. Students will need their own instrument (help and advice will be given to acquire a good sitar from a reputable maker). Initial lessons take the form of one to one teacher –pupil sessions lasting for  two hours.

Students learn by mirroring basic techniques and exercises until they are familiar with the workings of their instrument and are ready to progress to the next stage. Students will advance really quickly if they practice between sessions. When a satisfactory level of basic competence is achieved, students are ready to begin studying raga and tala. This is done in the traditional way starting with ‘Raga Yaman’

Comments & feedback from schools:

Mr N R Gaston
It was a pleasure to welcome Jon and Ricky to Aiglon. There were true experts and imparted their knowledge and understanding of Indian music most successfully, and nicely differentiated too, to a wide age range of Aiglon students – from aged 8 to 19 (Junior School students through to advanced IB music students). Their work was well researched and prepared, particularly their presentation on “Within Without You”, a GCSE set study piece, to our Year 10s and 11s. An added bonus was their hour-long concert to the school community. This was inspirational, well received, and really reinforced the learning achieved in the afternoon workshops. Ricky and Jon were a pleasure to have stay with us  and took a real interest in the work of the music department and our students at Aiglon. They will be back, for sure!
Mr N R Gaston Aiglon Switzerland

Jon and Ricky visited our school to give a demonstration on tabla and sitar.  We had asked them to give us further detail that would help our Y10/11 GCSE boys gain a better knowledge of Indian Music.  This linked directly to the special topic area in the forthcoming IGCSE exam.  They gave a really interesting and informative session, answering questions and involving the boys in an interactive mini – composition.  The boys loved it and made lots of notes for revision purposes.  I cannot think of a better way for the boys to experience new music.  I have no hesitation in recommending them to any school who wants to run a similar session.  I will be inviting them again. Paul Harrison City of London School

“We absolutely loved being part of the workshops. The children found them both inspiring and fascinating. We have been learning a lot about India and we had also learnt about different Indian instruments. This workshop was perfect for enhancing the children’s experiences and enabled them to make first hand connections. A wonderful day with two very talented and uplifting musicians.”Umberliegh Primary School

“Jon and Ricky were a pleasure to have working with our pupils for our Year 9 Arts Day. They managed to put the pupils at ease, and to get Year 9 boys singing – no mean feat! They come with incredible knowledge and expertise, but a way of working with pupils that isn’t superior or condescending. They clearly genuinely enjoy what they do, and this meant that our pupils enjoyed their experience too. I know that they all got an amazing amount out of the workshop, and I would love to have Jon and Ricky back to work with our pupils next year!”Sheldon School

“Ricky and Jon delivered a first-rate workshop for Year 10 and 11 pupils in Sherborne, introducing traditional Indian music with obvious enthusiasm and expertise. Our students greatly benefited from hearing ‘live’ performances, and from learning about the great musical legacy of that country.”Simon Clarkson, Head of Academic Music, Sherborne Girls

“The children had an enjoyable day and gained a lot”Michelle Norman – Stokenham School, Kingsbridge.

“The day workshop on Indian music was a great addition to our topic on India. The children were able to listen to and participate in making authentic Indian music.They were able to draw upon the expertise and enthusiasm of Jon and Ricky, who were able to answer all their questions in an informative and interesting way. The children particularly enjoyed being able to create their own melodies, then directing Jon and Ricky to play their compositions.We were able to follow up this session in class and really got a feel for traditionally inspired music. The workshops were mellow and a pleasure to take part in,as well as being very educational! I would recommend these workshops to anyone wanting to get an insight into traditional tabla and sitar music. Thank you again for a great day!”The Staff and Children of Eden Park Primary School, Brixham.

“Thank you so much for all your hard work with the students last week at our Indian Culture theme day. A combination of the morning workshops along with the presentation in the afternoon proved to be very successful. The feedback from the students was very positive and it was very beneficial to attempt to widen the horizons of young people who live in a rural community. Thank you once again.”Mrs. K. Seib. Head of Performing and Visual Arts, Holyrood Community School, Somerset.

“A tremendous session judged absolutely spot on for a bright mix of KS2 children. The children were treated respectfully and joined in with relish. (I understand the session with KS1 children was equally well targeted). This is an invaluable introduction to a musical format unfamiliar to the children in a small country village school – and as part of a cultural blitz, it was a superb starter.”Nigel Gann. School Governor, West Chinnock Primary School, Somerset.

“The children in years 1 & 2 (class 1) enjoyed listening & seeing the instruments at close quarters & watching the instrumentalists – they quickly grasped the 16 beat pattern and scale. The older children had fun working out their own musical composition having picked up the rhythm / melody structure & patterns. A wonderful experience for them all.”Mrs Caswell. Music teacher, West Chinnock Primary School, Somerset.

“Fantastic all-encompassing introduction to Indian music. Virtuoso performers – highly recommended to other schools.”Mr. John Shooter, Head of Music, Colston’s School, Bristol.

If you are interested in these services please get in contact.