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Frequently Asked Questions on our November Intensives

 August 9, 2017

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?

The Level 1 INTRO training is for Kirtan fans who want to launch their home CHANT practice and/or are new to the harmonium. The goal is to launch your home chant practice, build your repertoire with half-dozen introductory songs and work towards someday sharing Kirtan with others.

The Level 2 ADVANCED training is for those who desired to SHARE Kitan in their community. The goal is to build the skill in confidence to step into sharing with others, build your repertoire with half-dozen advanced songs, to practice playing with a professional Kirtan drummer, and to work towards sharing Kirtan in their community while leading a band (drummer, response singer).

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 talented and experienced Kirtan percussionists Issa Malluf  and Ken Matarazzo, and vocal teacher/Kirtan Leader Samantha Keller. Both programs include free access to our Saturday night Kirtan event (November 4)  and participation in the Sunday night (November 5) Kirtan Leader potluck and Jam Session.

Who are the instructors?

The program leaders are Kirtan Leader Institute founder Mike Cohen, percussionists Issa Malluf and Ken Matarazzo, and vocal instructor/Kirtan Leader Samantha Keller. 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.  You may be required to take private sessions prior to the trainings to prepare you for the Level 2 program. There is a discount if you take both programs. Those who fly in from out of town are encouraged to take both programs. However, you will likely need to take 3-6 private sessions (in person or via Skype/FaceTime) to prepare you for taking both programs in one week.

What chants will I learn?

Both programs focus on helping Kirtan Leaders like you expand your repertoire by teaching you 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 these programs  you will need to beg, borrow, steal, rent, own or purchase a harmonium. We are happy to help you purchase a great harmonium (read more HERE) or rent you a good harmonium. Email [email protected] if you’d like to purchase or rent a harmonium for the programs.

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.

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?

We plan to next offer these programs April 26-29, 2018.

Will I have fun? Will I really learn?

Many participants are surprised by how much fun, love and camaraderie we have in this learning community. And, how much REAL learning takes place. We demystify the process of playing the harmonium, singing, speaking publicly about Kirtan and much more so you can step into the Mystery of Kirtan.

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.

The 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, and guide them to their next level of Kirtan Leadership. Working in the domains of musicianship, leadership, community building, entrepreneurship 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.