Paltas are the exercises that develop both technical skills and the create the foundation that allows a the Indian musician to elaborate, to improvise and create the variations and permutations that are an essential part of raag delineation. They are much more than the equivalent of the scales and arpeggios that form the technical basis of western classical musical practice. They are repeated patterns, ranging from the simplest to the most complex, in twos threes fours fives sixes sevens etc and the idea is not only to create technique but to stock the mind of the student with a great fund of musical material which the player can draw upon when playing and performing.
The question is, at what stage of studies should paltas be introduced? The traditional response is, at the very beginning, and many teachers still follow this tradition, making their students begin with weeks or months of paltas, the argument being that one should have an adequately developed technique before playing any piece of music. This was also the approach followd in the west many years ago, but now, the general perception is that the student should begin with music, with melody from the very beginning, not only because it is more enjoyable and less alienating, because it encourages an immediate engagement with musical expression and values,
Following this line, the student of indian music should not then begin with an emphasis on technicalities, With the bansuri, that starting point ishould be just to able to produce a sound and cover and uncover the holes with sufficient ease, a stage usually reaches after a few weeks at most, sometimes a few days. Then immediately begin to play music,... not necessarily just raags, but also bhajans, folk songs and for children, the popular childrens songs that every child learns at school.
Learning indian music is invariably of two stages, first where the student plays and memorises materials given to him by the teacher and the second stage is the gradual substitution of the given material by the student’s own variations and the development of his/her improvising ability. It is at this point that the study and playing of
paltas becomes an essential part of the student’s practice.
Large amounts of mechanical repetition are less useful than a following a progam of palta practice with the challenge of a continuous change of palta type--- shape, notes, articulation, speed etc. Paltas should span the full range of the flute, and the player should develop the discipline to reproduce in every segment of the palta with the exact reproduction of every detail of pitch, speed, expression, speed, tonguing etc This is as much an exercise of concentration and mental focus as a physical exercise. The student will find that this palta material can then by incorporated into all areas of playing and performance which involve a rhythmic pulse, whether, jhor, jhalla or tanas.

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