Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 3, Issue 33, Tuesday March 28, 2006



Special feature

Music and dancing- the what, the where and the how

If you are fascinated by instrumental music, and planning to give it a go, why not look around for some interesting lessons? This, here, is a list of a few places to start with…

Among the astounding variety of musical instruments, the majority of people - when asked - seem to want to learn the piano and the violin. The piano, surprisingly, is taught in quite a few places. You could enquire at Alliance Francais. The classes are taken once a week on Saturday, and done on a one-to-one basis for 30 minutes per pupil. Fees are Tk. 1400 for those between ages 6 to 12. For those in the 13-16 yr range, the fees would be Tk. 1500. Contact: Alliance Francais, H-26, R-3, Dhanmondi R/A; Phone: 9675249 or 9675258.

Piano lessons are also offered at Omni Music in Gulshan. Unlike Alliance Francais, there is no age limit and late learners are welcome. The total course stretches over 20 weeks, with one class per week. One-on-one classes are for half and hour, while group sessions last for an hour. Admission fees are Tk. 1500, and monthly fees are Tk. 1000. The institution focuses heavily on the theoretical aspects (some find it necessary!), and also provides course materials. Address: H-4G, R- 104, Gulshan-2 (opposite Manarat School)

Violin lessons, on the other hand, are difficult to find around the City. If you happen to be interested, please contact Omni Music. The course duration is the same as that for the piano (and for all the lessons they offer). Classes are on Friday evenings for an hour and a half. Admission fees aside, the monthly tuition fee is Tk. 1200.

Want to master an instrument that only a handful of people know how to play? If being "different" is your aim, try the sitar. It is taught by Ustad Shahadat Ali Khan in Rampura. He teaches individually rather than in groups, once a week, for one to two hours. Deciphering the enigma of the sitar would cost you Tk. 1000 per month. Address: 130, West Rampura, Wapda Road ; Phone: 9332978, 9551605, 0175001340.

Omni Music also teaches tabla, with classes from 4pm to 5pm, every Friday. The monthly fees are Tk. 1000.

Another prominent place to learn tabla is Shanto Morium in Uttara. The admission fee is Tk. 1000, with Tk. 500 as the monthly tuition. Classes are held two days a week, with parallel courses running. So you may find it helpful to contact them directly for any queries regarding the schedules. Address: H-1, R- 14, Sector- 13, Uttara. Telephone: 8923167.

Guitar is perhaps the instrument that most people end up learning. It is relatively easy, involves almost no theory and most of all, is an instrument you can carry around and play wherever you want. It is fun, which is probably why we see so many youths with guitars in "adda ashors". Guitar is, for this reason, most widely taught. However, the majority of the teachers are non-professionals, teaching in private rather than from institutions. Privately, time is usually flexible, and fees can be negotiated. Fees usually vary from Tk. 400 to Tk. 3000 per month. Again, Omni Music also teaches the guitar. There are two courses- beginners and advance. The earlier is a 20 weeks course with one class per week (usually on the weekends). The admission fees aside, the monthly fee is Tk. 1000. If you are already keen on the odds and ends of the guitar, you may enrol yourself in the advanced learner's course. The fee is Tk. 1500, and classes are scheduled on Saturdays.

Further, Omni even teaches the drums, once a week for an hour and a half, for Tk. 1500 per month.

The Rhythm's Gonna Get You…
You may decide to trash your hectic life for a while, put on your dancing shoes and unwind. There are several places that provide dancing lessons.

The Russian Cultural Centre offers salsa and tango courses. The classes are held twice weekly, with the fees ranging from Tk. 1500 to Tk. 5000, depending on the type of course you register for. Address: H- 510, R- 7, Dhanmondi R/A. Phone: 9118531, 9116314.

You can also check out Ratan's Dance Academy. Its' "menu" lists hip-hop, Bombay, party, salsa , break-dance as well as the lambada . The classes are held 2 days a week, with separate classes for the ladies and the gents. Membership fees for a year costs Tk. 10,000, Tk. 7,000 for 6 months, Tk. 4,000 for 3 months, and Tk. 2000 for a month. Address: Navana Tower (6 th Floor), House- 45, Gulshan Circle- 1. Phone: 8813955, 8828854.

Shop talk

The Sound of Music

Music is deeply embedded in the Bengali culture. Different musical instruments have surfaced, evolved and modified themselves, fusing into our colour, our mood, our insatiable passion for music. This shoptalk is dedicated to that passion…

Sa Re Ga…

As the most basic instrument in Bengali music, the harmonium is a core accompaniment for both vocal lessons and performances. This is somewhat the sub continental version of the piano. If you are learning, you would normally be required to have one and know its workings. Prices range from Tk. 3500 to Tk. 25000.

The Beat of the Nation

You do not have to be Ustad Zakir Hossain to be in love with the tabla. Palms artfully struck on this instrument can weave magic. The fervent drumming of fingers, the riveted jerking of the head…this little portly apparatus brings forth all the intense emotions in the player and the listener alike. Prices vary from Tk. 1500 to Tk. 2500.

Ravishanker's Toy

The sitar is an essential element of classical music. Many may dismiss this instrument as simply old-fashioned and a tag-along from the Mughal times. However, apart from its musical use, it can also be handy as a decoration. Sitar music, by the way, is very soothing and helps to bring out the raaga of the cultural euphony.
Other items worth the attention includes Ektara (Tk.100- Tk.200), Dotara (Tk. 600- Tk.2500), Mondira (Tk. 60- Tk.350), Shanai (Tk. 650- Tk. 900) and Khonjoni (Tk. 160- Tk. 350).

She Je Dakatia Bashi…

Another seemingly simple yet practically complex tool is the flute. It has managed to charm snakes, lovers and numerous mythological characters. Be aware- you should avoid the temptation of using it to attract the opposite sex; it doesn't quite work like magic. However, they are amazingly cheap. They can be yours from Tk. 20 to Tk. 300.

Musical Strings And The Heroic Bow

Most of us have probably discovered the wizardly attributes of a violin, watching movies like "Mohabbatein" and the "Music of the Heart"…when in fact this instrument has been living with us for ages. Many experts believe it to be the most intricate of instruments, and even the slightest variation in holding the bow can produce a completely different tune. Dreamt of owning a violin?

Available in…

There is a series of shops that sell musical apparatus at the Science Laboratory corner. Mentionable are Melody and Co., Shongit Niketon, Shur Niketon, Music Corner and New Shurosri. There are also stores in Old Dhaka- Jhorna Music, Shilpi Niketon, Shur Bhobon, etc.- that offer them on both retail and wholesale basis. You can also try Golden Music in Mohakahli (in front of Titumir Collage), and if your budget stretches a little far, be sure to visit Omni Music in Gulshan-2.


Reading about so many musical instruments may be quite overwhelming, and even too much to digest at one go. It is not to say that you try out all of them. Pick out the ones that you like, give it a go… and accentuate the real Bangali in you.

By Shamsuddin Siddiky

On the cover

Patachitra is one of the earliest forms of popular art in Bangladesh. Dating from the 12th century, and existing even today these pats or scroll paintings narrated stories based on religious or moral themes for the entertainment of the village folks.
Painting of Shambhu Acharya
Photo: Munem Wasif


In today's competitive world, people often forget to take a break and to relax. A vacation might sound expensive and probably is, but you will be reaping its benefits months after returning to the workplace. If you've been an unstoppable workaholic for the past year, a few days of sunshine and sand is what you've earned for yourself.

Bring out the planner
For any vacation to be a successful one, planning in advance is a must. It all boils down to why you are vacationing and where. If it's to get away from work, remember to plan plenty of pampering time for yourself. If you wish to see a place, open up your history book. Do your homework well ask your travel agent, check the Internet, browse through brochures and you just might get the best deals.

Taking a quick one
Not enough time for an extended holiday? Want to keep the cash flow in green this time of the year? Why not go someplace near your city. Many people are unaware of the tiny resorts and attractions that have sprung up around Dhaka. You can even rent cottages on the outskirts of the city for a weekend getaway at reasonable prices.

Staying connected
Taking your Blueberry aboard a cruise is absolutely forbidden if you want to get away from it all. If you wish to take a 'real' time off, forget your cell phone, laptop and all other devices. If it helps, do not carry these items with you at all. Better still, look for vacation spots that have low connectivity. If you think you can get some work done on your way to your destination, think twice about why you are taking this holiday.

Making it a family affair
Family holidays are a great way to bond and have a fun time. But if you haven't been alone with your spouse in a while, maybe you should think about taking some time off to be together. Taking time to reconnect and to rekindle the magic might be exactly what the entire family needs.

By Shoaib Alam


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