Interview Excerpt #2
FRANK J. OTERI: Do you feel that audiences appreciate music in general in this country?
NATASHA SINHA: Yeah, I think so. Some of them like certain kinds of music and those kinds of music they like, they appreciate it, but sometimes I don’t think they appreciate it, like how much work they have to go through to get everything perfect. For example, like there are some band groups that make up all these songs, but they don’t realize what you had to do to get songs. You don’t just say “Oh I have a song, let’s play it.” You have to go through and put it down.
FRANK J. OTERI: Well, what’s your process when you’re working on a piece of music?
NATASHA SINHA: Well first I decide what I’m gonna write about or compose about. And then I just start making my melody in mind so that’s like my first draft. And then I start adding all the fine details later. And then what I do is after I get all that down, I make another copy of it that’s a little bit neater. And then what I do is my mom helps me sometimes to write it on the computer. And then we find people who can start learning all the different parts. And they start practicing it and a few times before the real thing where you perform it, we hear it and we make corrections of what I, or my teacher Alla Cohen, wants.
FRANK J. OTERI: So you work through the scores by hearing them in performance with other musicians playing. Do you play the music yourself as well?
NATASHA SINHA: Not yet because actually I’m not that familiar with playing with other people yet. And I’m just making a new song called Wild Swans and I realize that now since I’m a little bit older I can start playing. So there’s a sort of difficult piano part in this song and I decided to start playing the piano in that song.
FRANK J. OTERI: You also are a pianist.
NATASHA SINHA: Yeah.
FRANK J. OTERI: I heard your piano recital CD, which featured a lot of different music. And the CD of your own music features the piano quite a bit. So that was not you playing?
NATASHA SINHA: No, that wasn’t me. It would take me awhile because I’m not very much used to playing with other people because I basically am the only one in my family that still plays music all the time. But my mom was a pianist, but my dad really never did anything.
FRANK J. OTERI: Interesting. So what, what started the interest in music? Where did it come from?
NATASHA SINHA: Well, when I was about four, I always listened to music ever since I went to bed. And I always thought about “Wow that person who did that must have been really good.” And then sometimes at night I would dream about what they might think. And I decided that one day I would want to start composing like they did. And so I’ve always liked music.
FRANK J. OTERI: And what music do you listen to at home?
NATASHA SINHA: I listen to classical music, but then I also listen to lots of other things, I like a particular band group in pop. I like the Back Street Boys. And also I like jazz music and I like the blues a lot.
FRANK J. OTERI: Do you feel that all these other types of music will somehow find their way into your own music?
NATASHA SINHA: Eventually, but not right now.
FRANK J. OTERI: Now to follow up on what you were saying before about audiences appreciating music and audiences listening to music, do you feel that most Americans appreciate what we’re calling classical music?
NATASHA SINHA: Not as much as I thought, especially in the younger ages. Because a large amount of people have started to hook onto pop and more of the rocky music, but still there’s a pretty good amount like some of the elderly. I still like classical music, but at least a wide variety in my school don’t really understand classical music ‘cuz they don’t really understand much about it.
FRANK J. OTERI: So what do your classmates and other students think, here you are a student just like them who’s writing cello and piano music? What’s that?
NATASHA SINHA: They think it’s awesome?
FRANK J. OTERI: Yeah? They’re into it?
NATASHA SINHA: Yeah, they think it’s awesome that I’m composing. But I don’t think they realize that ‘cuz see I’m like one of their friends and they’re like whoa this like girl that’s like next to me she composes. But if suppose someone else like a 20 or 30 year old composed music for cello and piano, they’d be like “Oh another one of those.”
FRANK J. OTERI: Well, you know it’s interesting the notion of who a composer is. You know there’s this notion more in classical music than any other music that a composer is somebody who’s a man whose got gray hair and maybe a wig, like Amadeus…
NATASHA SINHA: Yeah, that’s what everyone imagines…
FRANK J. OTERI: …but you know, you’re not a man, and you’re not wearing a wig! And you’re an American. We all could potentially be composers if that’s what we set out to do.
NATASHA SINHA: Yeah. Most people think of composers, at least in my class, of like 18 year old and onwards. But they don’t really think of anyone being younger than 18.