HARMONIUM For Beginners 

4 Recorded Lessons & 4 Live Lessons

of 45 minutes Each

This class series for beginners will teach you how to play 4 ragas commonly used in Amma’s Bhajans and how to play one Bhajan in each of those ragas on harmonium or on an electronic keyboard.

Learn Harmonium

Harmonium is a keyboard instrument that is one of the main instruments used to accompany Bhajans(devotional singing) as well as a variety of other Indian music genres. It provides melodic support for the singer and greatly enriches the overall Bhajan experience. For Amma’s Bhajans, the harmonium is a vital instrument that carries the melody of the song, while  closely following  the voices of the lead singer as well as the chorus. It supports the lead singer’s voice, allowing him or her to sing on tune and at the correct pitch. 

Harmonium is a keyboard-based reed  instrument that is one of the main instruments used to accompany Bhajans(devotional singing) as well as a variety of other Indian music genres. In Amma’s Bhajans, the harmonium is one of the main instruments. 

It’s function is to provide melodic support for the singer. When playing harmonium, we focus on playing the melody of the song which closely follows the voice of the lead singer and the chorus. This supports their voices and helps them to sing on tune & at the correct pitch. The focus of the harmonium is on the melody of the song, as opposed to the chords. Chords are played on the keyboard/piano to fill in the space, as well as enhance the feeling of the song. You can also play nice bridges and links between the verses of the song to add some embellishment and feeling once you’ve mastered playing the basic melody of the bhajan. 


Back to Course

Beginners are welcome.

Ages 6 or 8 and older 

Please bring a harmonium or an electronic keyboard. Although this class is for harmonium, a keyboard can be used in the interim. We strongly recommend that you have a keyboard at home for practicing during the week. An amateur/low cost one is perfectly fine, or even a small child’s keyboard.  


Course Offerings


Swarna Iyer has been blessed to be a musician in Amma’s musical repertoire and play keyboard and harmonium for Amma on all of her world tours since 1992, as well as at Amma’s Ashram in Kerala and Indian Tours. Having met Amma in 1987 at age 13, with little musical skill, was invited to sit on stage by Amma for Amma’s Bhajans. Within a year or so, Swarna picked up playing harmonium and was soon playing for the Swamis, Amma’s senior disciples who are extremely accomplished musicians. At age 21, in 1995, Amma called Swarna to play harmonium for Amma on stage during Her October visit to Paris. This incredible experience led to many more wonderful opportunities for Swarna to play for Amma, and within a few years she picked up playing keyboard. Having had no formal training whatsoever, Swarna attributes her musical capabilities to Amma’s divine presence and is extremely grateful to Amma for allowing Swarna to be a part of Her Bhajans. 


Ratna Shashikumar has been blessed with the opportunity to sing bhajans and play harmonium for the M.A. Center’s bhajan programs, the South Bay satsang group and children’s programs, since moving to the Bay area in 2007. She also teaches bhajans to the children of the Amrita Balakendra program in the South Bay area. She has been training in North Indian vocal classical music under Smt. Anupama Chandratreya for the past 8 years.   Prior to that, she also trained in the Carnatic style of Indian classical music from Smt. Bharathi Mahadevan and grew up listening to and singing Amma’s melodious bhajans.  She particularly enjoys the calmness that comes from focused singing of bhajans and believes that being able to play the harmonium, while also singing bhajans, enhances one’s overall concentration and mental relaxation.



What Our Students Say

Swarna is the most amazing musician and person and I couldnt have asked for a more patient, loving and kind teacher. Wow, I feel so blessed!

Jane Doe

Learning Japanese for Business

Ratna really knows her stuff and she helped me overcome some blocks with my using my full range of voice that i have been battling with for years. 

Arnold Smith

Full-time Student Abroad

Learn Harmonium Today!

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