My earliest memories of the sitar involve being at my father’s concerts in London. My mother also used to host home concerts and promote lower-key classical performances in London’s South Asian community. One of my father’s close senior disciples showed me my first notes when I was probably four.

I began to play when I was seven and my parents had a sitar made for me. It’s not as common as the violin; you can’t buy a smaller size off the rack. My father had several of the great sitar luthiers make his instruments. A lot of them were by Rikhi Ram & Sons in New Delhi, and they made my first sitar. It was about half the normal size.

I remember being called in from the garden where I was playing and another of my father’s students, who I was very close to, giving me my first 10-minute lesson. I knew the solfeggio of our music – Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Dha Ni Sa – in a vocal sense because I would sing songs with my mom, but he showed me where the notes were on the instrument. 

Anoushka Shankar holds her sitar. Anoushka Shankar....