Tabla Certification – What, Why and How?

Every Year TablaMasters conducts Certification Exams in Tabla which allows students to reliably gauge their progress in Tabla and also provides them with sense of achievement by hitting milestones in their journey to perfection in Tabla. Though TablaMasters offers various tracks for Mastering the art of Tabla accompaniment in different genres of music like the ‘Bhajan Track’ for light classical, ‘Bollywood Track’ for film music etc., for comprehensive education in Tabla and extensive training in all the six schools of Tabla (Gharanas), TablaMasters recommends the certification path with our affiliated certification Authority – Gandharva Mahavidyalaya – Pune. 

Gandharva Mahavidyalaya in Pune is one of the most revered institutions in India for  Indian classical music today. It was established on May 8th, 1932 by Pt. Vinayakrao Patwardhan – one of the senior disciples of Pt. Vishnu Digambar Paluskar (the legendary musicologist who formulated the Paluskar notation system for Hindustani Classical Music). It is governed by Bharatiya Sangeet Prasarak Mandal – also established by Pt. Patwardhan for promoting Indian Classical Music and Dance. Besides imparting education in Hindustani and Carnatic music for Vocal and instrumental, GMV-Pune also regularly organizes conferences, seminars, concerts and other musical events not only for the students but also for the community at large. 

A quick synopsis of the Examinations and Certification path in Tabla offered by GMV – Pune:

Year       Name of Exam       Transliteration                                      Meaning                                       Equivalent Qualification

——       ——————       ———————————            —————————           ———————————

1              प्रारम्भिक                      praarambhik                                          Preliminary

2              प्रवेशिका प्रथम            praveshikaa pratham                       Elementary, Part I

3              प्रवेशिका पूर्ण               praveshikaa puurna                          Elementary, Part II                    Matriculation

4              मध्यमा प्रथम                madhyamaa pratham                       Intermediate, Part I

5              मध्यमा पूर्ण                   madhyamaa puurna                          Intermediate, Part II                 Diploma

6              विशारद प्रथम              vishaarad pratham                            Advanced, Part I

7              विशारद पूर्ण                vishaarad puurna                                Advanced, Part II                         Bachelor’s Degree

8              अलंकार प्रथम             alankar pratham                                 Master’s, Part I

9              अलंकार पूर्ण                alankar puurna                                    Master’s, Part II                            Master’s Degree


Note: An individual with a Visharad qualification is considered to have equivalent musical knowledge to someone with a bachelor’s degree in music. However, the Visharad by itself is not the equivalent of a bachelor’s per se, as the course of study is entirely music-based and does not include the general requirements typical of bachelor’s degrees. 

If you are interested in pursuing the Certification Path for Tabla please let us know and we will put you on Track to success in a cohort setting for an exciting journey to perfection in Tabla! 


  • Extensive: Covers the entire spectrum of Tabla education, akin to a black belt in martial arts. 
  • Academic Significance: College applications can potentially benefit with Tabla certifications and online performance portfolios giving you an edge over competition. 
  • Structured curriculum: The curriculum is designed to help students steadily gain proficiency in Tabla, the process is fun filled, challenging and extremely fulfilling. 
  • Mindset Programming: The depth and the rigor of the curriculum grooms students for complex, time taking endeavors preparing them favorably for real time challenges in academic as well as professional settings.  


  • Focused on classical training: The certification path focuses on classical training for accompaniment and solo drumming in Hindustani classical music. If you are interested in mastering a specific non-classical genre the certification path may not be suitable for you, please let us know and we will put you on the appropriate Track at TablaMasters!
  • Demands commitment: Completing Level-7 or Visharad Purna which is equivalent to a Bachelor’s degree in Music takes 6 years. The positive is that you gain a certificate at every Level and every certificate is valued!​

Shiv Kotagal

Shiv Kotagal helps schoolers embark on their Tabla journey and grow into successful performers within a short timespan. He is an expert Tabla performer with an extensive record of solo as well accompaniment concerts and recordings and helps students using online platforms to master the Art of Tabla.
If you’re interested in starting your own journey as a Tabla performer or wish to transition up to the next level in your Tabla performances please reach out and request a free strategy session today.