STORY OF SELF-LEARNING
A self-taught Bansuri & Melodica Player
Milind has learnt to play Bansuri and Melodica all by himself. He never got a chance to learn from a Guru. But his melodious rendition of music, has won him many applauds – latest being the Runner Up prize in the Notes & Sargam Instrumental Music Contest 2020.
“Greetings to all viewers and subscribers of Facebook Page, YouTube Channel and website of Notes & Sargam.com
I am Milind Bhagwat, 56. I am originally from Mumbai, Maharashtra, but residing in Ghana, West Africa, for few years now. Like most of you, I also had liking and passion for music since my childhood, but it was limited to listening only. During early childhood, ‘Binaka Geet Mala’ used to be my favorite radio program, followed by various others, all the way up to ‘Bela Ke Phool’ just before falling asleep. Later on, when we had our first cassette recorder and records player, I used to be the sole custodian and most of the time used to listen to music of my licking, ranging from Very Old Songs from Hindi Films to the latest DISCO NUMBERS from Bappi Lahiri ji. Although I never tried anything myself at that time, I strongly believe whatever little knowledge of Sur and Taal that I have, the roots lie in that passionately listening to music since my childhood.
During my college days, I had quite a few friends expert in various music instruments. Whenever I used to be with them practicing, I used to try out my hands on percussion instruments, harmonium, Casio VL Tone etc. I was always curious to try these instruments myself, never spent enough time at a stretch with these. The priorities were different in those days.
My first thought of learning some musical instrument properly came just about three years ago. I can’t specifically remember what prompted me, but I took out the only Straight Bamboo Flute that was with me for some time and started blowing into. It was relatively easy for me to find out myself where the Sa starts and how the Sargam is played. It must be D or E scale flute. I tried playing few songs, and my wife told me she could make out what I was trying to play. Taking encouragement from that, I decided to take up Instrumental Music as my hobby from that point onwards.
During my next visit to India, to my home at Mumbai, on second day itself, I went to Sardar Flutes shop, which was about 10 minutes walking distance form my home. I wanted to buy one or two better bansuries. It was there that I saw Melodica in the shelve and remembered seeing some musicians playing it during some televised live show. It also brought back memories of my college days, when I used to try playing harmonium. I decided to buy it there and then, without being sure what I am going to do with it.
Upon return to Ghana, I started spending some time everyday with my new Bansuries and the Melodica. I soon realized that playing along with a Karaoke track was helping me better as I had a natural thing for rhythm. Soon thereafter, I discovered the smule application, and the whole process become simple for me. Every night, after dinner and before going to bed, I use to sit with my new toys and started playing whichever song comes to the mind in the beginning of each session, without any clearly thought of list to follow. Sometimes I used to play Melodica and sometimes Bansuri. Watching others playing similarly on YouTube and trying to play was my sole source of learning. I also discovered that I do better if I try any song myself instead of watching the same being performed by someone first. When I looked for some help in form of notations, NotesAndSargam.com came as great help where I could get notes of the songs whenever I was struggling to get it right all by myself. I have kept recordings of all my renditions from my beginning stage of learning, and when I compare them with how I am able to play the same song now, the progress gives me tremendous satisfaction. Of course, needless to say, the learning neverends.
Since past three years, since I started learning the Bansuri and Melodica, I don’t recall a single dull moment in my life. Every opportunity I get, I start playing with either melodica or bansuri, and by the time I stop, I am determined to do better the next time I play the same instrument. I am thoroughly enjoying my journey with instrumental music.”
– Milind Bhagwat