The flute is a family of musical instruments in the woodwind group. Unlike woodwind instruments with reeds, a flute is an aerophone or reedless wind instrument that produces its sound from the flow of air across an opening. According to the instrument classification of Hornbostel–Sachs, flutes are categorized as edge-blown aerophones. A musician who plays the flute can be referred to as a flute player, flautist, flutist or, less commonly, fluter or flutenist.
Flutes are the earliest extant musical instruments, as palaeolithic instruments with hand-bored holes have been found. A number of flutes dating to about 43,000 to 35,000 years ago have been found in the Swabian Jura region of present-day Germany. These flutes demonstrate that a developed musical tradition existed from the earliest period of modern human presence in Europe.
This week we got a chance to interview with a flautist - Sriharsha Ramkumar.
So let's dive right into the conversation.
1. Tell us about yourself.
I’m Sriharsha, born and raised in Bangalore. I’ve completed a bachelors in Engineering. I’m basically from a music family. My dad plays the South Indian Carnatic percussion instrument ‘Mridangam’, my brother is a Carnatic Violinist and my grandma plays the violin. My mom and wife are music enthusiasts and have been very supportive. I have a 4-year-old daughter who started showing interest in Singing. Until last year, I was working for a Semiconductor company post which I started my own firm.
Recently, I started my own firm called FLUTETRONICS. Selecting a flute is always a challenging task. There are a number of parameters that need to be checked before buying a flute.
So I started https://indianflutes.in where I work with multiple flute makers across India and stock some of the best quality flutes and check them for quality and tuning and sell them for beginners across the globe
2. Why did you pick the flute?
Back when I was 4, my dad tried teaching me Mridangam and I never showed interest. He eventually thought I’m not interested in any form of music. On a weekend, my parents and I went shopping and on our way back, there was a Carnatic flute concert happening in Fort high School grounds (Very famous for organising Ramanavami Concerts) It was already late and my parents wanted to get back home. But, I wanted to watch the concert and insisted my parents take me in and we watched a full 3 - hour concert. My parents were surprised. That is when I first developed my interest in Carnatic flute.
3. Who was your flute idol growing up?
Dr. N. Ramani Sir and Vid. Shashank Subramanyam Sir
4. What is your favourite flute piece?
Nagumomu Ganaleni composed by Sri. St. Thyagaraja
5. What is your daily warm-up?
Going back to basics and practising exercises with multiple parent ragas on a regular basis. It is more what we do in Gym (warm-ups and then core exercises) Practicing more of Raga specific exercises and then practising a composition is always a good habit.
6. Tell us about your learning process.
I was very lucky here. I had complete support from my family. My dad used to sit with me and my brother through our practice sessions and we were guided thoroughly. I still remember that intense and strict practice sessions.
7. Tell us about your teachers. (if any)
I got my Carnatic flute training from Vid. M. S Srinivas Murthy Sir
I’m also learning Carnatic Vocal (to improve my Theory and flute playing skills) from Vid. M. K Tejaswini
Recently I joined Mridangam classes as well and I’m learning from Vid. Shashi Bhushan Sir
8. What are your hobbies?
I spend most of my time in the studio and apart from that, I love playing and watching Cricket.
9. This is a unique profession, do you think you have an advantage over people with a 9-5 job?
Apart from time flexibility, I don’t see any other advantage over people with a 9-5 job. People with 9-5 job will have designated work from their managers and they know what to do. But, we need to be creative every day which is not easy. That too in this pandemic, with no concerts, performing artists are really finding it hard.
10. Tell us about your favourite performance to date.
I own fusion and called ‘Hamsadhwani’ and we have performed across the country and also abroad.
In 2011, we had a series of concerts organised in Dubai. One of them was organised by a Kannada Organisation which had fully packed Kannada Audience who thoroughly enjoyed our concert and I remember getting 3-5 min standing ovation after finished performing
In 2015, we performed for the prestigious Bengaluru Ganesha Uthsava in APS College grounds and we had a jam-packed audience of 8000+ who thoroughly enjoyed our concert and it was well covered across media
I also enjoyed my first US tour where my brother and I performed across the US for several Carnatic Classical concerts.
11. What is the difficulties you’ve faced with this stream of interest?
Working as a band is always challenging with people who have a regular 9-5 job. It's very difficult to accept a concert on short notice as we have to apply for leaves and few of us would be travelling on work. The competition is huge and most of the time, you would lose a concert for your competition.
12. What’s the best advice you were given?
I remember my Dad telling me these golden lines - Practice consistently and aim at perfection. For example, if you are practising a composition, practice it in a way that nobody else can play better than you. If a top artist is made to play the same composition, you should sound equal and no way less!
13. What’s the best advice you would give others?
Same as what my dad gave me
14. Do you teach? If yes, then how can one contact you for classes?
Yes, I do teach. Here is my website: www.onlinefluteclasses.com
15. How has the internet been a part of your growth?
I survive on that :)
It is a major backbone of whatever I’m doing today. More than anything, I’m a social media guy with a considerable number of followers on all platforms and I feel good when people recognise me in Malls, on roads.
16. Lastly, what’s next for you?
#1MinBambooTaleSeries - Remember the name :)
So this wraps up the interview with this wonderful personality. If anyone of you is interested to learn or are having difficulties choosing flutes, feel free to reach out to him.
Instagram ID: https://www.instagram.com/sriharsha.ramkumar/
He was really humble and helpful throughout the interview process. I'd like to end this with a quote by TheBakaViolinist
“You don't have to be a professional to play music. Close your eyes, take a deep breath.. And let it out. Let the violin dance, the guitar fascinate, the flute sing, the piano composes. Just. Let. It. Go.”