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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for our November 2016 Group Training Programs

Here are quick answers to frequently asked questions. Please send your questions, concerns or hesitations to [email protected].

How do I know which program is right for me?

Level 1 is for Kirtan fans who are new to the harmonium. The goal is to launch your home practice, build your repertoire and work towards someday sharing Kirtan at the beginning/end of a yoga class.

Level 2 is for those already sharing Kitan in yoga classes who are looking to go deeper and work towards someday sharing Kirtan in their community while leading a band (drummer, response singer).

Info on both programs HERE.

Tell me more…

Both programs feature training sessions on playing the harmonium, using your voice and building a solid sense of basic rhythm. Both programs will help you build/expand your repertoire of easy and accessible chants and help you speak publicly about this amazing heart-opening practice. Both programs will feature support from Issa Malluf  – a talented and experienced Kirtan percussionist. Both programs include free access to the Saturday night (Nov. 12) CD release Kirtan event at Shine Restaurant and Gathering Place and participation in the Sunday night (Nov. 13) Kirtan Leader Jam Session. All participants who complete the training sessions, attend the CD release Kirtan and participate in the Kirtan Leader Jam Session will receive a Certificate of Completion.

Who are the instructors?

The program leaders are Kirtan Leader Institute founder Mike Cohen, assistant Neil Martin and percussionist Issa Malluf. All are professional musicians who are accustomed to performing at large, successful Kirtan events.

Do I need background as a musician or singer to take the Level 1 program?

Nope. All you need is a desire to participate and an open heart. Level 1 is open to anyone, even (and especially) those who are total beginners.

I’ve been told I have a bad voice, does that mean I can’t learn to lead Kirtan? 

Nope. Chanting is our birthright as humans. The benefits of chanting accrue based on your open heartedness more than the sweetness of your voice. In addition, chanting will help you improve your voice.

Can I take both programs?

Yes, however it’s best if we speak about this first to determine what will serve you best.  There is a discount if you take both programs.

What chants will I learn?

Both programs focus on helping Kirtan Leaders like you expand your repertoire by sharing around 6 chants (per program) from your favorite Kirtan artists. Chants sheets are shared that offer granular detail on chords, notes, fingers and syllables… plus iTabla settings, degree of difficulty ratings and links to listen to the chant online. You will depart with a number of new and beautiful chants to enjoy at home or share in your community.

What if I don’t own a harmonium?

To participate fully in Level 1 you will need to beg, borrow, steal, rent, own or purchase a harmonium. That said, if you show up without a harmonium, you can still participate as we may have a few extra instruments on hand. While this is certainly not optimal, please let us know ahead of time if this is the case. You may also choose to show up and just sing, or perhaps share a harmonium with a friend. Contact me if you’d like to rent a harmonium for the program. I don’t rent instruments, however I have a list of folks that do at very affordable prices. Email [email protected] if you’d like to rent or purchase a great harmonium.

To participate in Level 2 you will absolutely need a harmonium. If you are unable to obtain one, email [email protected] for options to rent or purchase a great instrument.

I’ve never played a harmonium before… is it difficult?

Many instruments (violin, clarinet, flute) can require years of practice before you are able to create a good sound. The harmonium, however, sounds great the first time you play it. It’s remarkable easy to play, and we will walk you through “how to” play it step by step.

Where are the programs held?

Programs are held in the Common House at Nyland Co-housing – 3525 Nyland Way Lafayette, CO 80026.

Will there be childcare?

Nyland is an amazing place for children, and there is a kids playroom within the Common House. Contact me if you are interested in bringing children. The group can self-organize to manage childcare.

Will I get a certificate for completing these programs?

Yes, if you participate in all the training sessions, attend the Saturday night Kirtan event and attend the Sunday evening potluck/Kirtan Leader Jam session you will receive a certificate of completion.

In 2017  we will offer certifications for Level’s 2 through 5 that involve one-on-one study, participation in group programs and practical demonstration of skill appropriate to each level. More on that soon…

I might fly in from out of town. Which airport do I use? 

Fy into DIA (Denver International Airport). These programs will be held at Nyland Co-housing in Lafayette, about 45 minutes from the airport. From DIA you can rent a car or take Green Ride  (van shuttle – around $30) to Nyland Co-housing and/or your housing in Boulder and/or Lafayette. You can also take an RTD bus to/from a stop close to Nyland for only $9 each way. Contact us if you choose this option and we will see if we can pick you up.

Can I fly with my harmonium?

Great question. I recommend that you ONLY fly with your harmonium if you can put it in the overhead bin. Checking it and having it go underneath in the baggage compartment will definitely be a DISASTER unless you put it in a custom designed ATA flight case. Even then, it’s not such a great idea (and in a case it may be over 50 lbs).

Where do I stay?

Nyland Co-housing is in Lafayette, about 5 miles East of Downtown Boulder. We have lined up VERY affordable housing options both on site (at Nyland) and in the community on a first-come, first-serve basis. Email [email protected] as soon as possible for a list of options. Other options for you include staying with friends/family or lining up an Air BnB in the Boulder/Lafayette area.

Will you be offering these programs again?

It is likely these courses will be offered again, but this may not be until the Spring of 2017. If you are ready to take your Kirtan Leadership to the next level THIS YEAR we strongly recommend you sign-up with us now.

Many participants are surprised by how much fun we have, and how much learning takes place. We demystify the process of playing the harmonium, singing, speaking publicly about Kirtan and much more.

With professionals on hand you will, like Dancing with the Stars, be supported to be at your learning edge. Working with professional musicians (who are accustomed to performing at large, successful Kirtan events) will quickly increase your level of development, as there are no external obstacles to developing your leadership skills.

In addition, the Bhakti community that gathers for these programs is stellar. Many participants create long-term friendships as a result of the depth of connection we experience together.


To meet current and aspiring Kirtan Leaders exactly where they are, then guide them to their next level of Kirtan Leadership. Working in the domains of musicianship, leadership, community building and spirituality, we empower Kirtan Leaders to serve others through sacred chant. A world with more chanting is a world with more love, peace and happiness.