From Toronto, Ontario
“We first saw the Toronto Tabla Ensemble perform in Nelson BC in 2001. At that time our son was only 1 year old. By the time he was 13, we were living in Toronto and he started taking Tabla lessons with Ritesh Das. Now aged 16 he is a member of the Youth Ensemble that performed at Harbourfront Centre last year and will be performing again this May. He’s also had the opportunity as an assistant teacher to help introduce new students to basic techniques required for playing Tabla.
These multiple roles and experiences of learning, performing and teaching have been very enriching in several ways:
1. Academically: Memory, math and discipline are exercised all the time while learning Tabla. His Math scores have been consistently high over the past few years.
2. Culturally: Culture, history and tradition of Tabla are part and parcel of the experience of learning the instrument. Being involved in cultural events and performances also provides exposure to other disciplines that collaborate with TTE such as Japanese Taiko, Kathak and Odissi Dance.
3. Socially: Excellent opportunities for interacting with teachers, making friends, gaining confidence through teaching and collaboration with other artists (such as the Kathak dancers from California).
We are very happy with our son’s progress as a student of TTE and our family enjoys being part of the TTE community.”
From Pickering, Ontario:
“My 11 year old son, has been with the Toronto Tabla Ensemble for just over a year. He was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome back in 2010. He has always had difficulty with both his fine-motor and gross-motor skills. Additionally, rhythm, and music as a whole, was something he struggled with and avoided.
His teacher, Ritesh Das, has helped my son develop an appreciation for music. His patience is great and he has taken the time to give my son the instruction he needs to succeed, the support he needs when he falters, and the encouragement he needs to try, try again, and to keep on trying.
Most importantly, our son has been given the opportunity to fail. Failure is seen, today, as a negative consequence that should be avoided, but the reality is that failure is a wonderful teaching opportunity. Every child should be allowed the freedom to fail without shame in order to help them remain self-confident and independent: this is the greatest gift Ritesh Das has given my son.
Though he has only been with the TTE for one year, I have already noticed a huge difference in our son’s maturity and independence skills (nightly practising of his tabla has helped him understand school homework also needs to get done; previously, school homework would be lost, forgotten, or tantrums would result if it came home).
He has also become a music lover and is able to clap in time to it now. He still has more fine-motor work to do, but writing and other tasks with his fingers have become easier through the tabla strengthening his hands.
As a family, we have all struggled with our son’s diagnosis, especially with finding resources to help support his physical and emotional development. Joining the Toronto Tabla Emsemble may be different approach, but it has been one of the best decisions we have ever made to help our son.”