"Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity, but in doing it" - Greg Anderson
And that is the premise of this blog post. Vivek Sonar's musical journey began under the tutelage of his father Shri Ramchandra (Vishwanath) Sonar. Hailing from the 'Warkari Sampradaya' or 'Religious Movement of Pilgrims', Vivek grew up in a musical environment, where bhajans and kirtans were a way of life. His father was himself a noted vocalist. Vivek recalls having learnt Raga Durga and Pilu from him. But Vivek was drawn to the flute, and started learning from Pt. Purushottam Antapurkar. Having tutored for 7 years, Vivek sought his Guru's permission and moved to learning under the guidance of Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia ji. This was the year 1997. Since the classes were in Mumbai, Vivek travelled 7 hours one way, from Chalisgaon (Maharashtra) to Mumbai, every alternate day. A total of 14 hours for a 2 hour class. If not dedication, what else is this?
Having done this for a year, Vivek moved to Thane and made it slightly easier for himself.
With tremendous determination and sincerity, Vivek grew to become one of the senior students, and began accompanying Guruji on stage. His willingness to keep enhancing his music, brought him opportunities to travel the world along with Guruji. The exposure Vivek received during his travels played a huge role in shaping his future plans. He realised that world-over there is not a single music festival dedicated to the Flute. This is when he decided to hold an Annual festival, the 'Bansuri Utsav'. It is indeed a matter of pride that Vivek has been consistently organising this festival over the past 11 years.
Yet another innovative concept that Vivek transformed into a pioneering concert format, is the 'Flute Symphony'. The beautiful pattern of melodies arising from multiple flutes, is the true essence of individual identities merging into a group harmony.
While travelling the world, Vivek noticed how Guruji’s music gave tremendous joy to the listeners. Among them, there were some who craved to learn the flute. They even attended different classes but all that they wanted, was 'the Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia style'.
Harsh Dave, who has been Vivek's disciple for about 14 years, brought with him the domain knowledge of the digital space. He gave up a lucrative job as Asst. VP at Hotstar and developed an innovative App, known popularly today as the 'MyGurukul' App.
Once the app was ready, they took it to Guruji who gave it his blessings and the same was officially launched at his hands. Today, the App has over 1,50,000+ downloads worldwide, across 40+ countries.
The salient feature of this App is that, it is an online replica of the Gurukul system, wherein the Guru teaches and the student follows his lessons. There is a large component of oral transmission of knowledge too. Here, it is important to mention Vivek's incessant habit of documenting all his lessons as he learnt from Guruji. This process played a major role while developing the App. In fact, when Vivek began creating the notations for the lessons, he realised how over the years, Guruji had transmitted complex lessons so effortlessly.
This is why the App offers written notes along with practical lessons. Despite it being an online platform, each student experiences a one-on-one learning. After every lesson, the student is expected to create a video clipping of his learnings and upload the same. This way, he/she receives an individual feedback, similar to a face-to-face class. Here, every lesson learnt is like an assignment, wherein the student is assessed, before moving ahead. This methodology is followed for each of the 3 levels – Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced. Together, these 3 levels comprise the diploma course, over 3 years.
To enrol for this amazing form of learning, the criteria for the aspiring student are as simple as a strong determination and time constraint, due to which one is unable to attend a class physically. A complete novice can also take these lessons from the App. Someone who might have learnt but was unable to complete is also welcome on this App.
Come, become a part of the MyGurukul family, the very first App in the world for learning Indian Classical Instrumental Music. And what's even more unique, is that you will learn the 'Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia style'!
Begin the journey, enjoy the process, and let the destination find you!