Hi, I’m Jeff Starr, a sitar student and filmmaker.
I often get asked how to learn sitar.
So, I made a short video to share my experience as a student and give you my tips and suggestions. In the end, it’s pretty easy if you do one really important thing. But, you gotta watch the video to find out what that is.
Should you learn the sitar? If this is something you have been thinking about then I really think you should do it. It’s definitely difficult but there are strange moments that can be easy. And once you practice, everything gets easier. Don’t be afraid to try it out.and if you are wondering if you are too old you are not.
Playing the sitar is hard and it can be really painful. In this video I’ll demonstrate the method I use to tape my fingers. This helps reduce pain and can be very useful when you have been practicing a lot. Or, if you are just beginning to learn sitar using tape can be helpful while your fingers build up a callous.
Some additional thoughts:
Sorry for the messy room. I figured it was better for me to shoot a video surrounded by my son’s toys than to clean everything up and not have time to make the video.
You don’t want to use tape every time you practice.
I suggest masking tape because it’s very slick on the strings and also because the glue is fairly weak allowing you to take the tape off easily. It also won’t leak glue onto your strings like a fabric athletic tape will.
I changed my shirt halfway into filming so that you can see my hands better. But if you like the shirt I was wearing, you can buy one at http://copycreditmeals.net/ My buddy runs that website and is giving his profits back to artists, actors, etc.
My teacher was extremely generous today and my lesson ran for an extra half hour. We spent that extra time playing Alap and going over super important small details.
It was one of those lessons that makes you feel like you are starting over again! I have so much to learn about the sitar. It’s been an amazing journey for me so far and I am so happy to study and learn this instrument.
While traveling to visit family I found this used sitar for sale in a local music store. It’s Ravi Shankar style and was made by Hiren Roy. I’ll keep this at my parents house to practice on when I visit family. Now I need to get back home more often!
I was really determined to play this Taan at 170 beats per minute. I’ve been stuck at 160, so today I slowly worked my way up to 170 with many failed attempts. Here are the last three minutes of my practice where I struggle with and eventually hit the 170 goal.
…180 is the next milestone. My teacher wants me to eventually play all taans for this gat at 200bpm.
A taan is sort of similar to playing a riff in western music.
I took my first sitar lesson on January 27th, 2012.