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Sip On Filter Coffee & Learn To Play The Violin From This 78-Year-Old Teacher In Mumbai

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What Is It?

Last week, we were invited to a beautiful violin teacher’s home in South Central Mumbai. While we sat there, sipping on a cup of filter coffee, we found ourselves taken aback by the soothing sounds of a traditional Carnatic song. Here’s a glimpse into our musical afternoon.

A Play Of Words

Scene: An old flat in Matunga

Characters: An old Navneet notebook full of music notes, a 78-year-old violin teacher, her student and two violins.

The pair positioned their violins while one end rested on their left shoulder, the other against their right heel, they dipped their fingers in coconut oil and began gliding the bow across the violin strings. All this while while the melody of the Carnatic music swayed in the air, a hot summer breeze tried to enter the apartment through the balcony door, and we sat listening, enchanted.

Her Story


Ms Subbarayudu, a Mumbai-born violinist picked up the daunting instrument when she was 15-years-old because her ‘sisters were already singers, anyway’ in her words. She stuck by the instrument, and years later, became an Indian classical teacher, violinist and also a Bharatnatyam instructor. As she soothes the strings of the violin with the bow, she tells us about her guru who pushed her towards learning her beautiful, faithful violin that she bought for INR 150 in 1955, about the time she used to play on All India Radio.

Notes From The Master

She tells us the best violins to pick up are those made in Rampur and Kolkata, and they cost between INR 4,000-7,000. A couple of local shops she recommends are the Sardar Flute Musical Instruments in Dadar East and the Haribhau Vishwanath Music Shop in Dadar West.

How Can You Learn?

Ms Subbarayudu is the most patient and encouraging teacher who’ll sit up with you and try and learn your favourite song with you, as tells Nandhini, a student who has been training under guidance for a decade. If you’re interested in taking an Indian classic violin lesson with her, she’ll take classes twice a week. The fee for a month is priced humbly at INR 1,000.

Fun story: For a student who has recently moved abroad for studies, she even takes violin classes over Skype.

So We're Saying...

As we leave, she pats us on the head, talks a little more about the instrument that has been with her since she was a 15-year-old girl and invites us over once again. After music like that, we couldn’t ever say no.

If you’d like to contact her for classes, ring her up on +91 9820114451.