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Coffee With Harsha! – Carnatic Music Singer

29 January 2008 7 Comments

We all listen to music in one form or the other. Infact, music is such an important part of our life!! We sing, we hum songs, dont we!! However bad it is, we certainly enjoy it! Here we have a special guest today, who not only sings for his happiness, but also for the happiness of people around him!!

Welcome Mr. Harsha Nagaraj, Carnatic Music Singer!!!


Coffee With Harsha!

Me: Sundar Rajan G S
HN: Harsha Nagaraj!

Me: When did you start learning music?
HN: I started learning carnatic music since I was 8 years old. My parents were completely interested in Carnatic music and infact my mother herself had learnt music up to an extent to enjoy the technicalities of Classical music. As a kid, though I was not that interested, my mother used to pull me to each and every concert in the town. Knowingly or unknowingly I picked up a lot of stuff by just attending innumerable concerts. That is when my learning process started.

Me: Did you have any breaks in your learning path?
HN: Fortunately, I never had any break in my learning path. In fact, I owe a lot to my parents because they never created any fear of either the 10th std or the 12th std exams. Probably, 90% of good music students drop down because of academics. But I personally feel that I improved a lot and have been doing pretty decent in my Acads only after I started learning music seriously.

Me: What do you advise people who have learnt it to some extent and then discontinued? Do you think they can continue again?

Yes. Of course they can continue anytime. Atleast for putting so much effort and learning upto some stage, they have to continue learning. Since there is neither an upper nor a lower limit on age to learn, it should never stop or atleast continue if it is stopped.

Me: Can you tell us something about your gurus?
HN: I have been very fortunate to have extremely good gurus right from my start.
My first guru was Sri.Paramashivan. He used to stay right above our house and was correcting me always during my practice. He was a real task master and a great teacher. Later I continued learning for few years from Vidushi. Nagavalli Nagaraj, and also from Sri.D.V.Nagaraj.

HN: My real learning process started when I went under Sri.T.K.V.Ramanujacharyulu in srirangam. He is currently a top “A” graded artist in AIR Trichy. This happened while I was doing my Undergrad. He is a very patient and caring teacher. Even spending time with him talking music is very refreshing as he continuously comes up with new ideas. His values and approach have really enriched my approach to music.

HN: Parallely, I started learning from Vidwan.R.K.Padmanabha. He has a profound understanding of the art coupled with a vast repertoire. He has an unparalleled concert presentation style and most importantly a great teacher.

Me: What is the role of gurus in Carnatic Music?
HN: Carnatic music has a very ancient and traditional background. It includes the preservation and propagation of the art-form from one generation to the other just based on the guru-sishya parampara. Hence Guru is the only person who knows what, when and how to transmit his knowledge to the sishya since he himself would have learnt being a student. This reminds me a famous quote ” yatha guru, thatha sishya” which means “As the teacher, so are the disciples”. Hence it is very very important to have the right and a good guru.

Me: Can music be learnt from cassettes, videos, video conf instead of direct learning?
Yes. It is possible, provided the student has reached one particular stage with minimum standards and can understand the nuances of music just by listening. But surely, modern technology is not an alternative for the Direct learning from the guru.

Me: How long do you practise music every day?
It depends how my academic schedule goes. Currently as a grad student, I try to practice for atleast 1.5 hrs a day which is just to maintain my voice. But I dedicate atleast 3-4 hours for practice during week ends and holidays.

Me: Whats your advise for someone who wants to start learning music late in his career?
As I already said, there is no age to learn music. But you need a lot perseverance and Work hard, hard, hard…! Best example is my guru in Bangalore. Vidwan R.K.Padmanabha started learning music when he was 25. He is one of the leading musicians of Karnataka, A graded artist in AIR Bangalore and is spreading the fragrance of music all over the nation.


Well Said Harsha. Its all about hard work! Thank you very much for taking your time and answering the questions. I wish you all the very best on behalf of CWS readers for your musical career!

Well folks, hope you enjoyed Coffee With Harsha! As I said earlier, at Coffee With Sundar I intend to bring people from different walks of life, have a chat over coffee and share the transcript for you to read, learn and enjoy!

For earlier episodes of Coffee with Experts, Check out!

Coffee With Prem! – A true Underdog!
Coffee With Aditya – A Googler and Blogger!
Coffee With Mahesh – A CAT Cracker!




  • Ganapathy said:

    A truly encouraging and well-explained article!! Good work..

  • Sundar Rajan G S said:

    @ Gannu,

    Thanks 🙂

    Hope this helps you a lot!

  • Dhaneel said:

    Its a great idea dude.. Keep it up.. waiting for more..

  • Sundar Rajan G S said:

    @ dhaneel..

    thanks a lot 🙂

  • krishna s said:

    Great effort to present various aspects of Indian music. Indeed a job worth appreciation

  • Lakshman said:

    Dear Sundar: One of my friends wants to learn violin through Skype from your guru sri.TKV Ramanujacharyulu. Does he have an email address to contact? Thanks.


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