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Learn ancient Indian singing from Dr. Payton MacDonald

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    39 Glen Ridge Ave., Montclair, NJ (map)

    40.809002 -74.207619

  • Dhrupad is a 700-year old tradition of classical music from North India.  Dhrupad is characterized by long-held tones, precision of tuning, and a majestic and meditative quality.

    Students will learn the basics of Dhrupad, including sargam (Indian solfeggio syllables), proper sur (tuning), melodic phrases and exercises, voice culture, breathing techniques, raga theory, improvisation skills, and compositions.

    Students must be able to match their voice to a given pitch, but otherwise no experience is necessary.  Dr. MacDonald is a Professor of Music at William Paterson University and he has over 20 years of teaching experience.  He creates a warm and inviting atmosphere.  The classes are organized and efficient and the students will be singing the entire time.  (While students are welcome to drop in for individual classes it is recommended that they attend them in sequence since the learning is cumulative.)


    39 Glenridge Ave

    Montclair, New Jersey

    4-week course, every Wednesday, starting November 30

    (November 30, December 7, 14, 21)

    7:00-8:00 p.m.

    $10 suggested donation per class

    Dr. Payton MacDonald has traveled to India many times and was recently awarded a Senior Fulbright-Nehru Fellowship to spend nine months in India continuing his vocal studies with the Gundecha Brothers, learning the ancient art of Dhrupad singing.  Many critics have commented on his Dhrupad singing, including The Hitaveda,who wrote  “Dr. Payton MacDonald with his melodious voice spread the beauty of Dhrupad, its subtle finer points and the way he sang seemed to be spiritualistic. His solo Dhrupad performance was encouraging and not less than any young Indian Dhrupad singer.”  The Times of Indiareported that “. . . lovers of Indian classical music from city had a gala time listening to Payton MacDonald’s recital at Antarang hall of Bharat Bhavan.”

    Payton studied music formally at the University of Michigan (B.F.A.) and the Eastman School of Music (M.M. and D.M.A.). It was at Michigan that he began studying tabla drumming and learning the rhythmic language of Indian music. He eventually became a disciple of the great tabla guru Pandit Sharda Sahai.  Upon Sharda Sahai’s passing in 2011 Payton redirected his energy to singing Indian music and began learning from Indian Dhrupad master singers Gundecha Brothers.

    Payton has sung his music at the River to River festival in New York City, the Musikgebouw in Holland, and the Cork Opera House in Cork, Ireland, as well as at countless yoga centers, universities, ashrams, and clubs.  He has appeared on the Ragas Live Festival in New York City and the Brooklyn Raga Massive, as well as the Dhrupad Days of Seattle.  Payton has a parallel career as a Western percussionist and composer and he is a Full Professor of Music at William Paterson University.

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