Vocal Music School

South Asian classical vocal music has a rich tradition dating back centuries. It is customarily broken down into two types: Hindustani (North Indian) and Carnatic (South Indian). The first variances in styles emerged during the Mughal rule, when North Indian Music began to fuse with influences from Persia. Indeed Ghazal singing is a product of beautiful Urdu poetry and Hindustani music coming together. Nowadays there are more pronounced differences in the two styles of singing, including musical literature, concert structure, and interpretation of ragas (melodic scales). Differences aside, though, the music of the subcontinent is united by its emphasis on: agility of the voice, imagination and improvisation (kalpanam), and emotion-laden (bhav) singing. These ideals guide the methodologies of teaching and learning even today.

Classes are typically an hour long.

Sangeet currently offers 2 levels of classes in both Hindustani and Carnatic:

Beginner Vocal

Instructors: Radhika Joshi (Hindustani) and Samir Rao (Carnatic)

The class assumes neither prior knowledge of Hindustani/Carnatic music, nor any experience with vocal music for beginners, and more background in the intermediate class. It will focus mainly on classical foundations but will survey semi-classical and film pieces as well.


  • Develop proper vocal and rhythmic technique
  • Become familiar and execute standard oscillations and ornamentations
  • Build a basic repertoire
  • Cultivate an understanding and appreciation Indian music

Material Covered:

  • Matching with sruthi
  • Method of keeping rhythm
  • Basic exercises for Voice Agility
  • Beginner's composition
  • Level-appropriate popular semi-classical and film pieces for potential performance
  • Basic theory
  • Guided listening to professional renditions of pieces

Intermediate/Advanced Vocal

Instructors: Radhika Joshi (Hindustani) and Samir Rao (Carnatic)

This class assumes a good grasp of basic vocal techniques and prior exposure to either Carnatic, Hindustani or semi-classical music. The class focus on classical development, but will include semi-classical and film pieces.


  • Improve upon pre-existing vocal and rhythmic techniques
  • Execute more complicated oscillations and ornamentations
  • Build a basic repertoire
  • Explore creative aspects (alap, kalpana swaram)
  • Expand the understanding and appreciation Indian music

Material Covered:

  • Variations on basic exercises
  • More involved vocal training exercises focusing on speed, range and ornamentations
  • Standard concert compositions
  • Popular semi-classical and film pieces
  • Introduction to basic extempore forms
  • Guided listening to professional renditions


Check out our new website and our exciting events planned for this semester! Feel free to contact us with any questions or comments.

The Harvard Sangeet Music School is now open for registration! Registration will remain open till March 7th, and classes will start shortly after.

Webmasters and Volunteers Needed. Please contact us at harvardsangeet@harvardsangeet.org!