A disciple of Pt Hari Prasad Chaurasi, Milind has proved passion cannot be suppressed for long.
He was kind enough to share very interesting points that every parent or kid interested in music and flute must know.
He started paying attention to the noise of the water filling in his mother’s kitchen at the age of 5 years. Every vessel had a different sound which intrigued him.
Milind Date is one the most down to earth celebrity I have met.
When asked why did he pick “Flute”?
He said,“Because Flute is all I could afford to buy to try out my passion for music and also it is the most easily available instrument in Maharashtra!”
Milind has completed his schooling from Tilak school and his graduation from Fergusson College, Pune. Interestingly this amazing flute master is all praise for Zoology department, as it supported his passion for flute! (The attendance was not strict.)
Milind is a ray of hope to all who have not found any guru yet, as he mentioned that he seriously started learning flute under the able guidance of his guru Ajit Soman ji at the age of 20 for three years. He would play for anyone and at anyplace. For Milind playing flute was like showing off is passion to the demands of his friends, college festivals, relatives’ functions, all for goodwill only.
His next guru at the age of 22 years was none other than Pt Hari Prasad Chaurasia ji. He would allow Milind to sit next to him and watch him even in big performances as he saw that spark that is the making of a passionate flautist.
Milind says that the best way to practice is by listening to the masters playing! Think and only then play the instrument. He emphasizes that understanding the music and its mathematics of the cord, the notes, talking to the masters is the secret to making of what he is today!
The next phase of the interview questions is what all moms will jump for; the secrets to understand before starting to get their kids trained for music.
- Do you think it’s better to first assess a child’s interest and then look for a seriously good guru or any teacher will do?
He says that most parents encourage their kids till 7th std in whatever the child is interested into, but the moment the child comes in the 8th std, they get a warning, to focus only on studies, however good the child may be in his activity!
“In Korea, a dad bought his daughter a piano worth Rs 40 Lacs, when she was a teenager, to encourage her talent!”
Milind insists that the parents must assess their children before serious training is started.
- How to assess a good guru?
“A good teacher may not be a famous performer, and a great performer may not be a great teacher!”, says Milind.
“Most of the parents look for their own convenience in settling down for a guru, which is indeed sad.
Talk to the parents whose kids are undergoing any music related training and get the feedback about the teacher. Find out how good teacher one is than how famous he is.” That is such a candid and eye opening statement from a man who dominates the world of flute.”
The talent of the guru and the ability to teach is all that is important. Name and fame should not be confused with the art of teaching music.
- Is there any association / affiliation that the gurus / trainers are required to be registered with to give training?
No, there is no association or affiliation in music that is needed to become a guru.
- With so many instruments around, kids and parents get confused. Kids want to learn everything! How can a mom decide which instrument is best for her young child?
“My parents were against me getting into music, so I chose flute!”, said Milind with a big laugh.
The Indian Gharanas and the western music world both lay emphasis on the harmonium or the piano and the tabla as the base instruments for music . These build the concept of beat calculation which is the heart of any music learning. Milind says to be able to understand music to the fullest its natural that the child will pick up keyboard or tabla easily, and that will tell the parent whether the child should get into music at all!
- How expensive is it to get my child learn music?
The cost of these instruments as per Milind is also a deciding factor once the above dilemma is over. He said the range of the instruments is as follows:
Flute : Rs 1500 – Rs 6000
Sitar : Rs 1000 – Rs 10000
Guitar : Rs 3000 – Rs 50000
Drum kit : Rs 10000 – Above
Well in west, the most basic class for any music starts at $100 / 45 minutes to $1000/-60 minutes.
In India parents are luckier. The range is Rs 100/ 60 minutes to Rs 5000/ 60 minutes depending on the quality and celebrity status of the Gurus.
Parents initially should go for the average range of coaching by the assistants who are still learning under great masters. That will ensure good base and also a hope for getting trained by the master one day! (Wow that is a very valuable advice any parent would get!)
The hierarchy to go for is : Good student -> Best Student -> Guru
- How much commitment is needed from the parents to build the child’s hobby or career into music?
When the child decides to get into music, the parents have to be very supportive both financially and emotionally, as the earning follows the patterns of a doctor. For many years there may not be real good income but when it starts, it is in abundance.
People still ask questions like “what do you do to make your living?; Some one asked this question to the famous Tabla player Shaafat Ahmed ”!!!! Please do not weigh passion on the scales of money.One also has to put up with these blocks while paving their way to passion.
Parents must realize that instead of making their kid waste years of training where their passion does not lie, it would be better to support their kids right from the early age.
He said, he knows so many who are engineering pass out and now pursuing music.
“I used to travel from Pune to Mumbai every week with Rs3/- in my pockets, some times slept on the platforms, lived anywhere I could get free accommodation, just to be in Pt Chaurasia’s company. Such severe passion if seen in your child, parents please do not be a road block” added Milind.
- Do you think any kid can attain the same success like yours, if they get the similar training as you did?
Kids now a days are competing in their classrooms, at the sports ground, in the auditoriums, I doubt they have the time or the energy to practice enough. Everything is dependent on the time spent in practice.
- If I want my child to become a master flautist, what should be my first step?
The first step of any mom should be to assess the following traits in your 4 year old;
- Is my child able to quickly pick up any song he hears on TV, Radio etc.,
- Does he/she really like music or not?
- Is he happy with music around?
- What is the right age or time to detect or start training into Music for my child?
Well there is no age to wait for? I started at the age of 7 years. Many kids show their talent at the age of 3 years.
- Do I, as a mom have to make up MY MIND first, as to whether my kid’s first priority will be studies or his passion for music?
School and college grooming are very essential for all kids socially. Hence ignoring studies is not at all advisable to any parents. It has to be a balanced approach till the child completes the primary education. Most of the time the passion in the child will guide the parents into selecting the next step after school education. That is the time, you have to carefully discuss and decide what should be the step for your child.
- In Pune where do I take my child to get the basic and advanced training in music?
For Flute, I can provide the coaching in advanced stage. For the beginner stage I think, SuperIndianKid will arrange for the able trainers. Of course, I am always there for all passionate music lovers who come through you.
- What are the various steps that a child has to take to perform or compete at state / national levels?
I think there are no structured steps. Once the child starts performing well, winning various competitions, the child will be able to compete at state or national level competitions. Join renowned National Academy of Music, Dance and Drama as they keep conducting events. Now that SuperIndianKid is launched, a lot of questions can be answered in this portal regarding music and training. Keep in touch and will answer all your queries.
Thank you Milind ji for your valuable advice and time with SuperIndianKid.