Hindustani music is obviously not music for everyone. Music industry sources have reported that, for several decades, the share of this segment of the market has remained stable at between 1.5% and 2%. They also observe that the audience for Hindustani music primarily middle-aged and senior (45+). This is understandable because the appreciation of this music requires two basic qualifications at a respectable level of sophistication – pitch differentiation and pattern recognition. Age need not be a barrier except in the sense that it could define music lovers who have outgrown frivolous music, which elicits only an animated physical response.
In simple language, this music demands sharp ears, and a cultivated mind. If these minimum conditions are satisfied, the aspiring aesthete still has to commit time, intellect and emotional energy over a period of time to the refinement of receptivity.
And, what are its rewards?
Like any art, Hindustani music is a pathway to a richer emotional life. The aesthetic exposure to a wide range of emotional experiences (Sagunatmaka) brings within reach the experience of pure delight that transcends everyday notions of pleasure (Nirgunatmaka). According to the Indian tradition, it even takes you towards bliss, which belongs to the territory of mystical experience. If these rewards have any appeal for you, you can train yourself to receive them.