Kirtan Flight School

“If you can’t teach me to fly, then teach me to sing”
— from Peter Pan by Sir James Barrie

When you participate in a kirtan, the call and response form of mantra chanting, you’re not just listening to the music: you are the music. As the audience for Kirtan continues to expand, many people are becoming inspired to participate in Kirtan groups, or introduce chanting to their yoga classes. If you are one of those people, this workshop is for you.

At Kirtan Flight School, you have the opportunity to explore and redefine the edges of what music can be when the crowd is itself an instrument. Both experienced musicians and those rediscovering their own musical selves will walk away with a working body of knowledge about how to move a crowd to participate, and how to employ different musical devices in order to deepen everyone’s experience.

California Esalen Institute Registration 
(Register directly with Esalen Institute)

Australia Registration Form / Schedule
(Or email

Switzerland Registration Form English / Content & Schedule English
Schweiz Anmeldung Formular – Deutsch / Inhalt & Ablauf – Deutsch

What to Expect:
Introductory Level: Participants are organized into small ensembles. Each ensemble chooses a chant, rehearses it together, and presents a kirtan to the rest of the groups. The instructors rotate through the groups, working closely with the participants to develop rhythmic and harmonic concepts, solve problems, and answer questions. The history and philosophy of kirtan are also intensively explored, so participants learn how to present and discuss the mantras.

Instruction will be offered in playing the harmonium and finger cymbals, and a limited number of these instruments will be on hand for use by all. Participants are also encouraged to bring their own musical instruments with them, but it is understood that the most important instruments are human voices and hands. No previous musical experience is necessary.

Advanced Level: The emphasis is on writing and presenting original kirtan compositions, leading your own ensemble and advanced arrangement and performance techniques. Participants should have completed at least one previous Kirtan Flight School at the Introductory Level, or be actively leading regular kirtans with a local community. Proficiency in playing a musical instrument is recommended.

Instruction for all levels in Switzerland is offered in English, German and French.

California Esalen Institute Registration (Register directly with Esalen Institute)

Australia Registration FormSchedule

Switzerland Registration Form – English / Content & Schedule English
Schweiz Anmeldung Formular – Deutsch / Inhalt & Ablauf

What is Kirtan?
The call and response form of mantra chanting known as Kirtan is a consciousness-transforming practice, directing the singers to vanish into the song as drops merge into the ocean. Participants in kirtans often experience a profound sense of unity, well-being and timelessness. The form is simple: a lead group calls out the melodies. The crowd responds, clapping and dancing as the rhythm builds and accelerates. The mantras quiet the mind, and the music frees the heart. Ecstasy is both the process and the product.

“Immerse yourself in the rapture of music.
You know what you love. Go there.” — The Radiance Sutras