Unlike many western instruments the Tabla technique is not intuitive and is virtually impossible to learn without personal instruction. It is imperative to have a teacher to correct details of finger position especially in the beginning stages while learning the language of tabla. So without a doubt seek out a teacher before attempting to learn from videos if you are a beginner. If you cannot find a reputable teacher, I give online tutoring via Skype. I can observe your playing and make sure you are on the right track. If you know how to accurately create the basic sounds of tabla these lessons are for you!
The fingerings of these exercises are very important. The reasons for these fingerings may not be apparent at first, but will be revealed as you learn more complex patterns. Remember to listen to the example and observe every detail of the composition before you attempt to play it. If you start trying to play along right away, how will you be able to observe the subtle nuances of the baya? This will help avoid mistakes. First listen to it several times without playing. Just listen, then say it out loud, then finally play the exercise very slowly on the tabla with meticulous attention to detail. Once the exercise is comfortable and feels balanced, try doubling the speed. If you can't, don't worry. Go back to the slow speed. Tabla requires so much repetition that you do not want to practice something wrong and waste your time.
Lesson 1 - Kherva
If you learn this exercise very well you will be able to play with other musicians.
This is not as easy to play as it should be so be patient. This is the basic rhythm of folk and used frequently in qawalli, kirtan and all manner of light classical and film music. I've found it works well with singer songwriters and such as well.
VERY USEFUL! This should be played at many different tempos.... This rhythm sounds good played swung or straight and everything in between.
First watch this video
Exercise 1 (RH only):
1. tete nana tete nana
Exercise 2 (LH only):
ge - - ke - - ge ge -
Exercise 3 (Both hands together Ex. 1 and 2 should be practiced extensively before trying to play them together):
Dhete naNA teDhe Dhana
Dhe = ge + te
NA = ke + na
Dha = ge + na