If you have listened to Carnatic music concerts or watched Indian classical dance Bharatanatyam, you have listened to the resonating rhythem of Mridangam. Its the major accompaniment of Classical music and dance of south India. Believed to be invented by ‘Nandikeshan’, Lord Shiva’s assistant, Mridangam was used for Shiva Thandavam (the extreme dance trance sometimes Lord Shiva enters into).
Compared to Tabla, the popular percussion instrument from Hindusthani music, Mridangam demands rigorous practice. As they say, you have to bring out the notes with practice. Learning Mridangam needs a lot of patience, practice and listening. Don’t get disappointed if you don’t manage to make the notes sound the way you want it. Keep practicing, they will come out. There is a point where the notes start to come out proper and you will not even realise what you had been doing wrong. Once you pass this face, there is no going back!
If you want to take Mridangam serious, take some time every year so that you can master the instrument.
We got a student practicing on this video.
Kerala Tourism dot org has a beautiful video on How Mridangam is made!