This year, my graduating senior was Aarti Raghavachari. I am pleased to announce that she will be attending the University of Cincinnati. At our recital this year, she gave a speech about how music has influenced her. Her speech is below.
I first began to learn Carnatic music at the age of 6, eleven years ago. I’ve always been surrounded by music; both sides of my family are avid followers of Carnatic music and my aunts and grandmother are very good singers. Not to forget my Dad, who plays Carnatic and Hindustani music a lot, either at home or in the car when we are traveling. I’ll admit that when I was younger, perhaps I did not appreciate Carnatic music as much, but as I grew older, I came to love it and have a true respect for the style. There are numerous ragas and nuances to each one, and such a variety of songs to enjoy.
Learning and singing Carnatic music has also helped me to grow as a person. I have always been quieter than most, and singing in front of strangers was almost a nightmare. But with lots of practice and annual recitals. I’ve become more confident in my skills. Under the guidance of Shruti Aunty, I have expanded my knowledge of Carnatic music and reached an advanced level of singing raga alapanas and kalpana swaras.
For the past eleven years, she has taught me a multitude of keerthanams, and she has been a very patient teacher. Though it takes time and effort to learn a new song, she made sure I would perfect each line before moving on to the next. And, her encouragement and steady support has helped me to develop even through the busy high school years.
What I’ve learned is that though the task of learning new songs and perfecting them can be difficult, it is most important to not give up and continue trying. Even just a half-hour of practice daily can go a long way, as well as listening to music. Attending concerts such as at the Thyagaraja festival in Cleveland exposed me to different musicians and their versatility and different styles of singing. But most important of all, as I learned, is to simply enjoy the process, enjoy learning new songs.Even after I move to college, I hope to continue to learn music and gain more depth. There is so much to learn, and I look forward to this enriching journey.