Rivers of Sound
Go From Loving Kirtan to Leading Kirtan
April 16 - May 21
How to lead Kirtan and harness the subtle allure of Indian music principles, rhythms, and sounds
An immersive 5-week training for those who want to lead Kirtan or amplify their established Kirtan practice.
Lifetime access to videos and Music Library
Allison has been leading kirtan since 2006 and has a background in vocal performance. She wants to inspire trust in your authentic voice so that you feel confident to lead chanting circles in your community. You’ll compassionately be guided along the journey from loving kirtan to leading kirtan, and everything in between. It will prepare you in an individual way to meet your personal chanting goals.
You’ll enjoy lifetime access to the Music Library and can take the next several years to go through the 80+ video tutorials that teach you to play Allison’s original chants and favorite traditional ones as well. You’ll learn to play several chants in the upcoming live classes, and Allison will share her experiences and wisdom in transitioning from a home chanting practice to leading groups.
Kirtan doesn’t necessarily need to align with classical Indian music, but this course can help you explore this unique approach as a Westerner. Knowing some basic principles of Indian Music can be inspiring for writing your own kirtan tunes. Allison will guide you towards incorporating the basic principles of Indian music and encourage you to pull from your own traditions, lineages, and ancestry for songs as well. She is grateful to her mentor and Nada Yoga guru of 13 years, K. Sridhar, for molding her kirtan practice, Dr. Robert Svoboda for sharing a love of culture, music, and singing in community, and Prem Sadasivananda for introducing her to Kirtan and planting the seeds of devotion.
Early Bird Special: $1500
An Ocean of Sound students: $750
Regular Cost: $1800
Who is this course for?
This course is for people who lead kirtan, want to lead kirtan, and feel drawn to build a community of song. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned practitioner, this course offers so much to support your journey from loving kirtan to leading kirtan.
What the Course Offers:
Homework is given individually based on where you are in your practice, how much time you have to dedicate to practice, and what your intention is. Private sessions will address your personal goals and the practices necessary to help you get there.
- How to play the Harmonium: gain access to the music library with video tutorials for 50+ mantras and chants
- Sanskrit: Correct pronunciation and how to read the transliteration, access to the fully transliterated HoYS Digital Chant book
- Rhythm: rhythms other than 4 and how to use the iTabla Pro app
- Scales and exercises for the voice and harmonium
- Practices for calming the nervous system and building confidence
- How to live stream and optimize audio for leading kirtan online
- How and where to lead a kirtan
This course offers instruction on:
- One on One checked homework
- Reading and writing the musical notation in the Music Library
- Cultural etiquette and instrumental well being
- Sapta svara + the chromatic scale + knowing what scale you’re singing in
- Finding your “Sa”, or the key your voice is naturally suited for
- Scales and exercises
- Creative expression and opening your voice
- Counting beats other than 4 and 8, including tala of 5, 6, and 7
- How to use the iTabla Pro app (looks like there is an Android version now)
- The Subtle Body and Vibration
- Pranayama & Sound
- Sanskrit Pronunciation Instruction
- The alphabet
- Reading transliteration
- One on one homework where Allison checks your pronunciation and sends notes and corrections
- Reading the Musical Notation in the Music Library
- Classical Indian Music
- How to listen for sruti’s, the microtones
- Who to listen to
- How to incorporate the principles into your kirtan
What This Course Includes:
- 3 private sessions with Allison - to be scheduled after registration - 50 minutes each
- Checked Homework thru audio/video memos on WhatsApp
- Sanskrit pronunciation
- Harmonium scales
- Weekends on Zoom, EST:
- April 29 - 30, 9:00-10:30am & 11:00-12:30pm
- Harmonium and Raga
- Subtle Body and Srutis
- Melody and Tala
- Sanskrit & Learn a Chant
- May 13 - 14, 9:00-10:30am & 11:00-12:30pm
- Learn a Chant
- Learn a Chant
- Weekly Kirtan + Class:
- Sundays, April 16, April 23, May 7, May 21, 9:00-10:30am EST
- Class 1: Take Up Space, Be Brave, and Share Your Authentic Sound + Kirtan
- Class 2: How to Lead a Kirtan + Kirtan
- Class 3: Rhythm and iTabla Pro tutorial + Kirtan
- Class 4: Optimizing Audio for Live-Streaming + Kirtan
Tutorials and Reference Materials:
- Kirtan Music Library: Lifetime access to the digital Kirtan Music Library with over 80 video tutorials and 50 instructional charts: you can chew on this material for many years to come as you build your repertoire of chants
- Heart of Yoga School Chant Book: a fully transliterated chant book with over a hundred mantras and kirtan chants.
- Sanskrit Pronunciation Audio Series
- Pre-recorded Satsangs with Allison’s Teachers:
- Dr. Robert Svoboda on the topic of Indian music
- Prem Sadasivananda on the topic of Sanskrit
- K. Sridhar on the topic of Indian music and Bhakti Yoga
How do I buy a harmonium for the course?
Please email my friends in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India at: [email protected] and mention that you are taking a course with K. Sridhar’s American student Allison. Ask Saptaswara Musicals about their money back guarantee if the instrument arrives damaged.
I suggest a double reed harmonium without a coupler. At least seven stops, more is fine. You don’t need anything fancy. With shipping it should cost $400-ish.
How does Rivers of Sound compare to Allison’s course An Ocean of Sound?
In An Ocean of Sound Allison offered a deep and thorough introduction to kirtan music. The course includes ten 90-minute classes and ten 60-minute kirtan sessions, many of which are organized so you can play along with Allison at home on your own harmonium.
Rivers of Sound will repeat some of what An Ocean of Sound includes, enough to welcome those new to kirtan. However, grads of An Ocean of Sound who want to lead kirtan are encouraged to join and will receive a significant discount.
Rivers of Sound will directly address how to lead kirtan, both in-person and online. For example, you’ll learn how to optimize audio so it doesn’t sound distorted over streaming. We’ll go through the basics of developing a home harmonium and chanting practice and if there’s interest, Allison will offer further exploration into the different aspects of kirtan music in future levels of Rivers of Sound; ostensibly becoming a multi-leveled kirtan course instructing rhythm, melody, scales, sanskrit pronunciation, confidence building, community building, writing your own melodies, etc, all of which will be introduced in this initial course.
Since Rivers of Sound includes private session time structured into the course, and checked homework through audio and video messages, your own personal musical journey can be cultivated as we move through the material in community. You’ll enjoy having lifetime access to the materials; a lot will be offered, and this way you can always go back and review. Even your private sessions can be archived for future review.
Testimonials about Allison’s previous music course An Ocean of Sound:
This course inspired in me a deeper connection to the healing benefits of Indian music and the heart opening aspects of singing and playing the harmonium. Allison's teachings are well paced and clear. Her teaching style is heart based and you can easily feel her love of the practice through the screen. And don't even get me started about the MUSIC LIBRARY! I am so grateful to have found Allison and this program. Ocean of Sound is a brilliant resource for anyone wishing to explore the truly bottomless ocean of bhakti. -Sri Devi Melissa Urey
Allison has helped me fall more into love with Indian music, and has taught me things that have helped me better understand how to play it more skillfully myself. I've had a harmonium for ten years, but now I really understand so much more about chanting and playing and I'm excited to keep learning more as I dig into the music library packed full of songs to learn! - Paula Crossfield
It was such a wonderful course! I found it very approachable. After being intimidated by the harmonium for some time, I was so pleasantly surprised about how this class went and how interwoven into my practice playing the harmonium has become. - Lauren Thie
Vedic Mentor and Musician
Allison’s yoga journey began after a back injury as a performer in the off-broadway show De La Guarda. Unable to move around at a young age, she took to the philosophy of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras for comfort and perspective. Recovery took several years, and allowed for her eventual asana practice to be rooted in and emphasized by India’s wisdom systems.
A student since 2001, and a graduate of The Body Therapy Institute, Allison completed well over 1000 hours of formalized yoga teacher trainings (Sivananda, Jivamukti, Krishnamacharya) before opening Heart of Yoga School in Carrboro, NC in 2010 which is also the year she met her primary mentor K. Sridhar and began studying with him. She has a BFA in Musical Theater from East Carolina University.
Allison designed an 800 hour Yoga Teacher Training program dedicated to the foundational texts of yoga which offered textual study, introduction to the language of Sanskrit, harmonium instruction, chanting, and the development of a daily prescriptive sadhana.
As an event organizer, she focused on bringing people together at Heart of Yoga School to enjoy her favorite teachers and artists; K. Sridhar, Dr. Robert Svoboda, Sharon Gannon, Edwin Bryant, Prem Sadasivananda, and more. She led a weekly kirtan for five years, and also organized a week long Classical Indian Music Festival. Check out her three kirtan albums here on Spotify. Her original music can be found here.
Allison chose a mostly nomadic lifestyle back in 2016, and has travelled nationally and internationally as a solo woman and with groups. She's led cultural tours and retreats in India and Bali, which has allowed her students to experience first hand how ancient Vedic philosophies and practices can be infused into our daily life. In recent years she's presented with the Telluride Yoga Festival, Grand Valley Yoga Fest, and the Stroud Sacred Music Festival in UK. In 2023 she will present her research on how the ragas of Indian music can be used as Jyotishical remedies at the Vaidyagrama Healing Sound Retreat in India with co-presenters Dr. Robert Svoboda, Shantala Sriramaiyah, and Nina Rao.
Allison closed her brick and mortar School in 2018 so that she could travel as a teacher, meet the wider community, and simultaneously focus her attention on being a dedicated student of Jyotish and Indian music. She now offers these Vedic teachings on an online platform which allows for the cultivation of community, healing, and mentorship to a broader student population. You can check out her Vedic online courses here.
From 2020 until the summer of 2022 Allison worked diligently at recording and compiling a variety of Vedic teachings into an online library of courses on subjects like Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, Indian Music, The Ramayana, and more. These courses will now be offered as additional support for her upcoming containers. In 2020 Allison became a Teaching Assistant for her Jyotish teacher Steven Highburger, and continues this role as an assistant and tutor for students in his level 1-6 programs.
Allison is excited and eager to use her 20+ years of experience with Vedic wisdoms to work in dedicated ways with sincere spiritual practitioners. She enjoys combining group and individual work and is grateful for the tech enabling people from all over the world to join in her programs. Allison's signature courses Voice of the Heart and An Ocean of Sound are the best way to get the most out of working with Allison both individually and in a group, however she does offer limited number of private Jyotish sessions each season. Her ongoing astrology update Follow the Moon is a great way to stay connected as well.