He initiated a system of distance learning for Carnatic music tele-teaching in 1996 |
His numerous disciples include successful performers, National level Award winners as well as winners of major competitions in various parts of the world including Radio and TV reality shows.
He has inspired and trained students from non-Southern Indian states such as Gujarat and Bengal as also citizens of USA, Canada, Japan, Korea, South Africa, Slovenia, France and Germany, to name a few
Ravikiran's musical vision, large repertoire of masterpieces from authentic sources, conviction in his art, zest to share knowledge, evolved teaching methods, wit and humour, have made him one of the most charismatic gurus in the Carnatic arena. A stickler for musical ethics, in his unwavering fidelity to classicism, Ravikiran has been a role model for aspirants as well as professionals. The power of his teaching also lies in his vast experience, eye for detail and perfection, ability to communicate to students of any age group/level, openness innovate to project and preserve tradition.
Ravikiran has always created time to invest in students with aptitude and the right attitude. This has enabled him to groom perhaps the highest number of performing, composing and award-winning disciples over the last few decades. His commitment to take the Carnatic art-form across frontiers has enabled him train to name a few.
Apart from Flipped Class, Tele-teaching etc, Ravikiran's various albums through his ensemble, Vintage Virtuosos have served to educate and entertain students and audiences alike. Several of his initiatives have been emulated by his contemporaries in the field over the last few years.
Rural and mass education
Ravikiran has passionately striven to de-regionalise and de-religionise music. He has strongly advocated that Carnatic music get more broad based and make it accessible to millions of artistically inclined children in rural areas of which at least a few hundred could emerge as performers or teachers. His trail-blazing partnership with Sarva Shiksha Abhyan (a Govt of India org) in creating music DVDs and book specially for rural children included a camp for 31,000 children all over the state of Tamil Nadu using hundreds of teachers specially trained simultaneously over satellite. Based on the success of this project, Ravikiran hopes to undertake similar initiatives over the next few years.
Values and attitude
Ravikiran has endeavoured to instil among students from day one convictions such as: (a) perfection involves a conscious attempt at correctness - it is essential to be aware of grammar and practical-theory (b) artistic indulgence under the garb of poetic license can be destructive, (c) innovation should not be a camouflage for ignorance, shaky foundations in tradition or evasion of the rigours of classicism (d) right attitude towards the art and the guru is a pre-requisite for progress - no matter how great or popular one is (e) creation of immortal music should be the primary focus - all other rewards or awards are incidental. He has extolled his disciples to always show their first loyalty to the raga, next to the great composers and only after that to their guru(s).
Ravikiran places equal stress on students developing the right attitude which includes a positive approach, industriousness, humility, respect towards quality artistes and achievers besides an inquisitive mind that is keen to improve all the time. Equally importantly, a student is encouraged to eschew negativism in any form. Above all, Ravikiran has endeavoured to foster the spirit of self-enjoyment among his students.
Several of Ravikiran's disciples are active performers like Akkarai Shubhalakshmi & Sornalatha,
Anahita Ravindran (vocal and chitravina), Apoorva Ravindran, Mysore Sangeeta (vocal & violin), Canadian composer and guitarist Polivios Issariotis, Indian composer-guitarist Neil Mukherjee, Aditi Krishnaprakash (violin), Keyboard Duo Arjunsambasivan & Narayanan, Bangalore Chaitanya Kumar (flute), Emani Lalita Krishna (chitravina), Aditya Mohan, Prof Ramanath (Albany, NY), Shilpa Sadagopan, Aditya Kanukurthy, Arjun Adapalli (vocal),
T K Ramachandran,
Ashwin Sridhar and
Seetha Chandrashekhar while others such as
Bhargavi Balasubramanian and Ganesh Raman also teach actively, apart from performing.
K N Shashikiran, cousin
Chitravina Ganesh (who perform as Carnatica Brothers) and sister
Kiranavali Vidyasankar have also had musical interactions with him in their early days. On a lighter vein, while his first guru was his father Chitravina Narasimhan, Ravikiran's first disciple was his mother Choodamani, who took lessons from him when he was a 5-year old!