"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. 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.
Kirtan Flight School is a spiritually inquisitive music, science, education, and public speaking workshop that has developed in powerful ways over the last 10 years, with voyages into neurobiology, group dynamics, improvisation, songwriting, physics, philosophy, ethics, psychology, ecstatic poetry, and aeronautics. It is designed to facilitate an experience of the transcendental in yourself that once seen, cannot be unseen.
Singing, drumming, and dancing are vehicles that lift us into the jet stream. This unitary state of consciousness is the flow and the zone that athletes and artists speak of. It’s where you feel and perform your best and are one with what you are expressing. Action feels effortless, time ceases to be important, and focus becomes so complete that everything else falls away. This view above the clouds is boundless and ecstatic, and learning to play music in a group context is a joyful and inhibition-releasing means of getting there.
Music and ritual are practices that bring us together and keep us connected as one heart and one mind. They are the operating system of our consciousness, and our humanity. The mantra chanting practice of Kirtan is a technology that utilizes mantras and music to modify consciousness. It’s simultaneously calming and thrilling, a flight path of brain wave oscillations, neuropeptide surges, and autonomic nervous system responses. It strips away your usual frames of reference, your sense of self, and experiences of time. Ecstasy is both the process and the product.
Kirtan Flight School Berlin is taught in both English and German. Die Kirtan Flight School Berlin wird auf Englisch sowohl auf Deutsch unterrichtet. Teaching in other European languages can be arranged with advance notice if there is sufficient interest.
How does Flight School work?
Participants are organized into small ensembles. You bring whatever instruments you have, or play instruments we provide, like harmonium, cajon, mridanga, or finger cymbals. If you don’t know how to play an instrument, we can teach you, but it is understood that the most important instruments are human voices and hands. Simple, interlocking parts combine to produce surprisingly sophisticated music. No previous musical experience is necessary.
Each ensemble chooses a chant, rehearses it together, and presents a Kirtan to the rest of the groups. The instructors rotate through the groups, focusing on techniques of finding your voice, developing arrangements and becoming a relaxed performer. We offer support, not judgment, guiding the rehearsals and helping you shape the sound. The history and philosophy of Kirtan are also intensively explored, so participants learn how to present and discuss the mantras.
The emphasis is on improvisation, writing, performance, and speaking extemporaneously. Advanced rhythmic techniques, arrangements, and methods of organizing, inspiring, and leading a group are also explored. For the advanced level, you should have completed at least one previous Flight School at the Introductory Level, be able to play a musical instrument with practiced ability, or be actively participating in some form of ensemble or community music practice.
Things to Bring:
Bring whatever instruments you have. We will have a limited supply of harmoniums, cajons, mridanga and finger cymbals you can borrow. With advance notice, we can also make instruments of excellent quality available for purchase.
Comments from previous workshops in Australia, California, Germany, Spain, Switzerland and Thailand:
"It feels good to sing for five days and not be judged – that’s a spiritual experience. I found my voice from an authentic place. It’s a somatic experience – not in my head – in my body. When I can feel into it, I become part of the oneness and I play better. The container Dave creates facilitates self-discovery and spiritual connection."
"This was the most profound and moving experience I have ever had. Flight School is brilliantly conceived, well presented, and rich in support, knowledge and learning."
"What you do is what I call sacred theatre. It’s incredibly liberating because we are at our edge and with your super lovely attitude of "of course you can do it" everyone just gets on with it. The way you did it was so UN-stressful… I came to my edge at times – especially leading a kirtan on the first night, but the space you hold is so warm, supportive, joyful."
"Das war bei Weitem eine der heilendsten Erfahrungen meines Lebens. Dave Stringer begleitete uns liebevoll, mit Hingabe, geistreich und mit viel Witz."
"Dave kreiert einen unglaublichen Raum für Selbsterfahrung und Wachstum, sowohl auf persönlicher Ebene wie auch als Musiker, in dem er Kirtan als ‘Werkzeug’ spielen lässt."
"Ganz stark – hat meine kühnsten Erwartungen übertroffen! Besonders überrascht war ich, wieviele andere Themen es noch in Bewegung gesetzt hat. Ich bin sehr glücklich, diese Erfahrung gemacht zu haben."
"An amazing space for self-inquiry, personal and musical growth using Kirtan as a vehicle."
"Words cannot describe the joy and experience of it all. Perfect team, perfect structure, perfectly amazing workshop."
"Absolutely fabulous. I signed up for this workshop thinking it was going to be light and only about singing kirtan… but what a journey of transformation and self-discovery it turned out to be!"
"The best music workshop I have ever attended."
If you need accommodation in Berlin we suggest you book directly a shared room at the Rigpa itself (starting at 40€/night) mentioning your participation to the Flight School. Use this booking code #Peter Pan 2022
Spaces are limited. We suggest booking accommodations promptly. We can also recommend inexpensively priced nearby hostels.
More info on accommodations and registration: email Daniel Kuom firstname.lastname@example.org
Reservations and contact
Tel: +49 30 23 25 50 15
Mo – Sa 12:00 – 19:00
If you are staying elsewhere in Berlin, Rigpa is conveniently located a short walking distance from the Spandauer Damm S-Bahn station in Charlottenburg / Neu-Westend.
Intro Level One includes:
Friday 28 October: dinner
Saturday 29 October: lunch & dinner
Sunday 30 October: lunch & dinner
Monday 31 October: lunch
Advanced Level Two includes:
Monday 31 October: dinner
Tuesday 1 November: lunch & dinner
Wednesday 2 November: lunch & dinner
Thursday 3 November: lunch & dinner
Rigpa has a charming vegetarian café called the Lotus Lounge where coffee and pastries along with soups, sandwiches and salads can be purchased for breakfast and at break times. There are also other restaurants and food shops available in the neighborhood.
Images from Kirtan Flight School Berlin 2019