About

Yogi @ IICHello! As I’m sure is evident, this blog is about the classical guitar. More accurately, it’s about my relationship with this instrument, shaped as it is by my commitment to it. Here, I will endeavor to share all the ideas, information, ruminations, and philosophy that come up in my daily plunge into the torrent of art, science, faith, tradition, and human experience that is the world of music, as seen through the prism that is the guitar. You won’t, however, find much by way of recordings here, unless they’re from a show I’ve written about – I plan on trying to keep this blog more like a diary than a scrapbook; more about the classical guitar (and my daily experience of it) than merely featuring it. To watch clips of me on stage, please take a look at my youtube channel. But I will try to let on where and when I’m playing in public next (it’s always nice to meet guitar afficionados, and to play for people who know what they’re getting into!), and put up materials (programs, program notes etc) in case they could be of use to anyone.

As to my background, I did not arrive at where I am today by the usual means. I am therefore doubly thankful to be here – triply thankful, when I consider the fact that I have experienced and overcome focal dystonia in my right hand. I didn’t attend a traditional conservatory, or devote four years to a B Mus (Performance). Instead, by the luck of my stars I grew up immersed in classical music. When I was a tyke, I kicked up a fuss when I didn’t get Rossini with dinner. I got busted in Taekwondo class for singing Verdi while kicking at someone. Strange kid – yes, I know. The point is, the music has always spoken to me – and when I first signed up for guitar lessons, aged eight, colors, dynamics, and interpretation went without saying from the very beginning. I was fortunate enough to have good teachers throughout my childhood, and even luckier to interact with great guitarists and very supportive peers in music while at university, where I studied psychology. More recently, I have benefited immeasurably from masterclasses and other interactions with phenomenal artistes, some of whom I am now deeply honoured to call my colleagues and my friends. But most of all, my biggest hat tip must be to my supportive family, who gave me time to do what I needed to in order to develop the ability to communicate through the instrument.

Towards the end of 2014, I developed a crippling case of focal dystonia in my right hand. I persevered in seeking a solution and overcame it the following summer. I owe my insight into, and resolution of the problem to the extreme good fortune of having been in the right place at the right time, so to speak, both academically and experientially. I happen to have a degree in psychology, and so was of a mind to (and was able to) seek out, interpret, and apply the best research in the field, and my first ever job happens to have been an apprenticeship with a world champion bodybuilder who trained high level athletes, from whom I gained a decent understanding of kinesiology. As a musician figuring out a neurological condition that affects task-specific fine motor control, I couldn’t have planned to be better equipped than that! I now use this chance synergy between psychology, sports science, and music to help other musicians overcome focal hand dystonia. Drop me a line by email if you’d like to know more. (my email address is listed below)

In spite of being a guitarist myself, I regularly find myself surprised by the power of the guitar…a relatively small instrument, with a relatively small number of strings, yet amongst stringed instruments possessed of a range of musical possibilities, and a sheer richness of sound, that are surpassed only by the piano. It is endlessly adaptable, and suitable for the expression of music transposed from so many instruments (including the piano!). The title of this blog is a nod to that versatility.

Needless to say, all content featured on this blog is mine unless stated otherwise; you may share it as you please, but I would appreciate attribution wherever appropriate. Please feel free to get in touch or send me feedback of any sort if you are so inclined.

Feel free to reach out to me at any time – at yogi.ponappa@gmail.com, and +91 98188 87158.

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6 thoughts on “About

  1. Just wanted to let you know I perused your site on this fine Sunday afternoon. Who knows how I stumbled upon it, but I’m glad to have found it. I wish you all the best in your musical endeavors.
    peace

    • Thank you for your kind words, Laura! In turn, it’s nice to see your site, and your inspiring approach to being online. The very best to you, too! 🙂

  2. Happy to have discovered your site and especially enjoyed your tribute to Tarrega! My son (25) who lives with me in Baja California had his guitar in hand and told me he’d just listened to an inspiring piece about making memories into melodies. I asked if he’d heard Memories of the Alhambra (long a favorite composition of mine). “No.” So we listened. He became interested in tremulo and I downloaded Tales of the Alhambra on my kindle plus read everything I could find about Tarrega. Intrigued by a site in which someone shared the tribute Tarrega originally wrote to Conxa Martinez (but then changed it to someone else) I was curious about whether there was more to the story…and then came upon your site. Yes, we must be friendly with potential patrons! Anyway, thanks for taking time to share useful, positive and inspiring words about music!

    • Thank you, Stephen. I began by building to purpose, without much thought about ergonomics – my first ‘splint’ featured individually-molded cut off tops of plastic clothes hangers, sections of road bike inner tube, and a handkerchief. Just a little bit rough and ready, but it got the job done! I’ve refined the concept a bit since then: the design I now use is a variation of what’s called an ‘baseball splint’ in some countries – it’s essentially a fully adjustable padded aluminium splint, secured to the hand via velcro and/or simple medical tape. It’s minimal, doesn’t impact the functioning of the other fingers, and can be easily shaped exactly to anyone’s hand. If you drop me a line by email, I’d be happy to send you photos.

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