I enjoy practicing. I always have. Ever since I was 10 years old I’ve loved nothing more than getting behind my instruments and working things out.
Practicing is my main job here in India. I start first thing in the morning, at about 6:00 a.m. I make a cup of Indian coffee, start up the drone box, and begin singing a raga. This first practice we call “Kharaj” and it focuses on the low register. I do this for about 30 minutes. Then I usually compose at the computer for at least an hour.
Then to the gym for a workout, shower, breakfast, and then the motorcycle ride to Gurukul. Once I’m there I warm up for another 30 minutes or so, then I have a lesson with Ramakantji, then Umakantji. Each lesson is about 30 minutes.
Then I go home and play my drumming practice pad for an hour. (It’s important that I keep my Western percussion chops in shape so I can resume my performing career when I get back home.)
Then I do another 30–45 minutes of raga singing, this time on “aakaar” or “ah”, as well as palta (scalar variations). This segment is done with full voice, very strong and loud. It’s like the weight lifting of singing. I rest for a bit, then sing for about two more hours. I focus on the material I learned in the lessons. All told it’s about four to five hours of singing, an hour of composing, and an hour of drumming. I also spend time listening to Guruji’s various recordings and transcribing phrases and analyzing their performances. It’s a full day. I’m working hard and making good progress. It’s fabulous.