Welcome to the course

  • Posted by Kenny Clarys
  • On 16 February 2022
  • 0 Comments

Welcome – namaste, My name is Kenny Clarys.

I welcome you to this course where you will learn everything about the Indian harmonium.

First of all, I would like to express my gratitude to you,  purchasing this course and your trust in me to be your teacher.

I designed and created this course with – as much as I could – precision and details and really tried to make it the very best harmonium course there is..  To make it super clear, well organised, very accessible for anyone taking the course.

 

WHO AM I?

So, briefly introducing myself, 
I am a professional musician, my main instruments are the harmonium, the violin and the piano.
I compose music like celtic songs, pop songs, music for films and I have a recording and mixing studio at my home where I make recordings and productions, based in Belgium. For anyone who doesn’t know Belgium, it’s a tiny country in  Central Europe. 

Listening and playing a lot of Indian music like bhajans, mantras, and qawwalis – I grew up from the age of six, because my parents started meditation and yoga when I was 6 years old. 
I have been raised with close contact with the Indian culture and music.

Many many years I have invested to learn the Indian harmonium and music in general. Started music on the age of 7, had violin and piano lessons from  the age of 7, went to music art school for classical violin from the age of 14 and graduated from the royal conservatory in Ghent for music production.

Later I also studied Indian music and harmonium by some renowned Indian music gurus and I’ve been to India multiple times, played concerts with some amazing Indian musicians and singers, such as Anandita basu, pandit Bhaskar Subramanian, pandit Prabhakar Dhakde, pandit Sandesh Popatkar and more..

I’ve been teaching music part time – since 2008 – to children, teenagers and adults – as well as in private schools, public schools and mostly private lessons.

 

THE CONSTRUCTION OF THIS COURSE

The construction of this complete harmonium course took me a lot of dedication and a lot of time to accomplish but the content of the course took me a whole lifetime. 
To study the instrument, the music and figuring out what are the best techniques and the most easy method to teach the harmonium?

This course is constructed in 3 main modules.

  • Awakening – the seed that sprouts, learning all the fundamentals
  • Growth – the tree that grows, having more experience and training,
  • Mastery – the tree that blossoms, really the highlight, sharing the beauty and fragrance with the world

In the first module, the starter module – which is a very important module -you will learn all the fundamentals. 
The correct harmonium playing techniques and all the foundations of the music system. Notes, chords, scales, ragas, rhythm,..

The 2nd module is the growth module. The focus here is growing, exercising and having more practice. 
You will have more in depth practice and training in rhythm, singing and playing the  harmonium simultaneously.
You will learn many new songs and you will learn a unique playing style, combining 3 elements: melodies, chords and rhythm.

3th module is the master module. The focus here is how to make the music even more beautiful and exciting. 
Learning Indian embellishments, training your musical hearing, finding your inner confidence when playing the harmonium
And learning how to improvise and being more creative.

Also in this course, we will learn how to use music to stop thinking and reach a state of meditation, mental silence, the state of yoga.
In meditation we are thoughtless and that is a very important state to find mental silence. By this mental silence pure inspiration can come and you’ll be able to play beautiful melodies without thinking.

Ok, so of course I have to give you a lot of mental knowledge and a lot of exercises to have a start. 
But most important in music is to enjoy the music from the inside and share the music with others.

Music has to make you happy and you can make other people happy and use music to give balance to the world to other people and lift other people to a higher energy level. That’s the magic of music, it’s a universal language.

Now by the end of this course – if you dedicate yourself and practice well – you’ll be able to play smooth and confident harmonium and to use this instrument for your accompaniment in your yoga teachings, yoga classes, in a bhajan or qawali group.
You will be able to smoothly play many songs and you’ll be able to take up any song you like to play, because you will understand the underlying music system.

Then in addition to the course, I offer weekly Q&A calls where you can join to have interaction with me and ask all your questions and take away your doubts. 

Now important to mention, if you want to join a q & a call – you will have to book your presence in advance. 
So you go online, to the website in the invitation email and select the date you want to join and book in advance. If nobody books, the Q&a call will be cancelled and will not take place. Ok, so if you wonder other people will book in your place, it might not happen if everyone thinks the same. So it’s important to book.

Then we have a facebook student community.
It is meant to be a place where you can connect to other like minded people, get to know other harmonium players and students, share videos, ask for feedback, share chords, lyrics, buy second-hand instruments, you name it.


THE METHOD

So what is the method of this course?
First you need to understand certain knowledge on a mental level.
Then you will learn in a step by step way how to play the specific skills and music elements on the harmonium. 

Like writing a novel or poetry, you first need to know the alphabet and have practice in writing and reading simple words, 
Then from there we will gradually make it more interesting. 

That’s how I designed this course, but really building it slowly step by step.
So what can you expect? What will you learn and how does the course work?

Basically in the beginning you learn all the basic knowledge – which is very important to understand. 
It covers the important, basic techniques about playing the harmonium

A very important fundamental element in this course, that we cover in the 1st module,  is chords.
I noticed that in Indian music, a lot of Indian teachers have very limited understanding of chords.

See, the reason is that the Indian music system doesn’t use chords. 
The classical indian music is melody based, so there is no use of chords in the ragas or in the classical indian music.

Of course in folk style music there are chords and ghazals, qawwalis, kirtans, bollywood songs…
But the chords are always coming from the western system never from the indian, because chords don’t exist in Indian traditional music.

The harmonium is a perfect blend between the two worlds, Indian and Western, the keys are coming from a Western influence and are exactly similar to a piano. Though of course the instrument is an Indian invention and we will mainly play Indian folk style.
But we definitely want to be able to play chords on the harmonium, in playing our accompaniment.

So to properly understand how the chords work it’s important to understand and definitely use the western system.
The western music system will give you a lot of freedom and a lot of understanding of how music works; the notes of the music systems; scales, chords and rhythm.

In this course you will also learn the basics of the Indian music system, ragas, talas, embellishments and so on.
The western music and Indian music system really work complementary.

They actually enhance each other – so they are equally important.

We will cover the chords and the skills using the western approach, we use c d e b f g – flat sharp major minor these kind of things, you will definitely have heard about these.

As mentioned you will also learn the basics of the Indian system, raags, talas you know so we have different words for aroha, avaroha, komal, tukra, this kind of words which you might have heard of already..

Now what I want to mention is that in in the beginning you will learn very important basic knowledge. The chords, the scales the ragas the rhythm.
It’s important to understand them properly and to train them properly .

You have to start with this. 
Later you will go deeper into making the music, enjoying the music, finding more variety, exploring, going more into depth.

Definitely you will learn all of that in this course but you have to go step by step.
So in order to make beautiful poetry or to write a beautiful book it’s important to first understand the language you have to know the basics,  the alphabet, know how to read and write the words. Then you can start to build sentences.

So you will have to learn the rules for writing the grammar, correct spelling and then after experience and training you can start to compose simple sentences and how to pronounce these words.
After understanding this and enough experience, later we can we can compose our own poetry and the art can start to flow.

Now the art comes from somewhere else, it’s beyond the thoughts, beyond the mind.

When having mental silence, there is a place where we can connect to pure inspiration, spontaneous creativity. 
The music starts to come automatically -from the inside

Then magic can happen and that is the beauty of music.

YIN & YANG

Now as you know, there are two sides and they are both important. The mental and the creative side. It’s like the yin and yang. 

So you need to understand the the mental side, the yang side, which is: 
– doing the exercises
– doing the techniques
– learning the techniques
– thinking about how things work. 
– growing your technique and skills. 

This course is more like this mental side, the yang energy. It will teach you to expand your skills and knowledge, to become a better harmonium player.
All of the insights about the music knowledge and it will really let you grow to become an advanced harmonium player.

But the yin side is equally important. 
The spontaneous and creative side, to play the music and enjoy the music and not think about anything while playing. 

So that’s the other side – when you can be intuitive.
So that is why I always advise you to play with other people, play with other musicians, singers, join a group, join a band and enjoy playing and making the music. 

Use the harmonium in the temple for the mantras, for the bhajans, you know.
That is very very important because it will give you a lot of joy, a lot of motivation as well and because you can channelize everything that you learned in this course.

And when you play the music and the songs you know, you’re not doing the course you are playing and enjoying the music. 

But the real magic happens when you are combining the yin and yang.
So you will play intuitively and creatively but using the skills and the mental knowledge you learned in the course. You combine the yin and the yan and than a third energy originates, this is the path of evolution, the divine path, the real magic, .. that is our aim..

Now, I would strongly advise you to play with other people and enjoy playing the music, even play performances for an audience.
And then don’t think about it, just enjoy and be spontaneous.

I advice you strongly to do this- already from the beginning, because this will give you a lot of joy and motivation.
So I will guide you in the process of how to play certain songs.

In the beginning they will be simple using only plain chords.
You will learn how to play them exactly, which fingers to use, and so on. 
In the beginning this is very precise, because otherwise you will be lost.
It would be too difficult to just do it without detailed advice.

So you need detailed guidance and I will teach you everything how to do this. 

Later you will- of course – learn more beautiful interesting things and I’ll give you more freedom. 
You will have to learn to take this freedom and become loose from the detailed, precise instructions. 

So for example you will have to start finding your own fingering. 
You will develop to be more self confident and independent in your playing. I will guide you in this of course.

So definitely we will learn melodies and how to play the indian style on the harmonium with the embellishments and different ways of playing the melodies.
Later we will combine the melodies with the chords. So playing chords together with melodies. And that’s really interesting.

But more, we can also add the rhythm.
So we will play melody, chords and rhythm simultaneously.
All the different elements melody chords rhythm. And then you will add your singing. Or someone else singing.


SINGING

Most of the students want to sing along with the harmonium playing.
So we created a chapter part in the second module where you will learn vocal techniques, breathing techniques and making the voice stronger
-project your sound much better by the use of proper vocal techniques.

This chapter of vocal techniques is being taught by Mari Joel, 
she’s my wife and she’s a very experienced vocal teacher, a very good singer and songwriter. 
She will tell you all about singing and explain more about the other specialised vocal course which is called the vocal evolution. So you will learn how to improve your voice with all the basic techniques.


THE GOAL OF THIS COURSE

Now, the ultimate goal of this harmonium course is that you’ll be able to play any song, any style, pick up new songs and even compose your own songs.
That is all definitely possible and you will learn all of that in the harmonium evolution course.

But very important, try to play the harmonium daily. That’s very important.
My advice is to play every day, but a very minimum should be 5 days a week 15min daily, preferably 30min.

Watch the video of the lesson, and understand what is being taught.
Practice daily until you understand and have the skills in your fingers.
Then built in the course, there are some evaluations to check if you are understanding everything so far. 

It’s important not to cheat, because before continuing the course, you need to understand certain elements well enough. 
So take the test, see if you are understanding well enough, if all is ok, then continue the course.

If you are still making multiple mistakes, it means you need more practice.
More time to dedicate to playing and understanding the specific skills and music knowledge. 

So then after you have more practice take the test again.
If all is ok, continue the course, if it is still very hard, you should join a Q&a call and talk to me more in detail about this specific exercise or subject.

So only after understanding specific content well enough, you can continue. 
You shouldn’t cheat on this and really take it very seriously.. 

We will start building on these skills and knowledge and this foundation.
If you do not understand this content well enough it’s going to be chaos really.

You shouldn’t be rushing things, it should become a part of you and that needs time. 
Some go faster, some go slower, it doesn’t matter.
So you should try to practice every day, you will only learn new skills by investing your time and your energy.

Now when you feel you’re getting tired you should stop-, take a break and relax.
It’s important to have enough energy.  you have to see it as driving a car: don’t drive a car when you’re tired, it’s dangerous.
So that’s also when studying an instrument, you have to be focused. 

Study the instrument when you are ready, when you are sharp, don’t force it, it will come by time. 
Don’t rush it but try to invest every day a bit of time to learn this instrument.

And important is to be patient.
So evaluate yourself using the tests in the course.
And when you notice you’re starting to understand these things and you’re able to play the things which are in that section or in this module then you can proceed to the next part right.


LET’S START THE FIRST LESSON

So I wish you a lot of success and joy on this new journey learning this beautiful instrument – the Indian harmonium, using this course, the harmonium evolution. 
May it give tremendous joy and happiness and may you spread this joy to many other people.

So let us start with the first chapter, the roots forming  a strong base – where you will learn all important, essential foundations and basics, as I mentioned before.
Again, I thank you very much, for purchasing this course and your trust in me. I’m excited to start this journey together and in this course I will help you to become a  confident harmonium player.

So let us start and I will see you in the next lesson, the first chapter, the roots forming a strong base.

Thank you very much!

 

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