Alittle one (4 years of age) who comes to learn music was struggling with the notes Ri and Da.
I remembered that I had the same issue 20 years back when my brilliant Guru (Smt. Lalitha Ramachandran) decided to start with Gambheeranaatai ( a raga without the notes Ri and Da) to get me into the comfort zone of singing notes.
Me (to myself): Ha! an opportunity to help a child the same way
Me : A, let us sing Sa Ga Ma Pa Ni Sa
A : But Gayathri aunty that is wrong. How can you sing sa re ga ma without Ri and Dha?
Me : A, let us try it once this way, I am sure it will be fun. (thinking to myself – I am sure I did not say that to my teacher :!!)
A : No Gayathri aunty. It is not fun. It is wrong.
Me : ( Racking my brains) A, you know what, Ri and Da have fallen sick today and so we should not disturb them. So let us sing without them
A: (Slightly convinced) ok then, we can sing sa ga ma pa ni sa.
After half an hour of singing, A was more comfortable in the notes. I decided to bring back ri and da into the scene.
Me: Well done A!! you are singing really well. Now lets sing Sa Ri Ga Ma Pa Da Ni Sa
A: No. I wont sing Ri and Dha
Me: (Puzzled) why not? Only if you try, you will get it. Making a mistake is not the end of the world.
A That is not the point. Has your teacher not taught you manners? How can you disturb someone when they are sick?
Me : Stumped! :! :O :O
I tried a couple of time more but ended up singing Saa Paa Saa and remembered to learn my revise my manners for the next weekend.