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"The sound quality is exceptional [...] Performer, improviser, and composer McGowan has assembled around himself a tribe of dedicated musicians who perform the most fiendishly difficult rhythms with flair and ease..." - Guy Livingston, Paris Transatlantic

International Rhythm Course

The International Rhythm Course is a series of online and on-location courses to solidify the fundamental expressive qualities of rhythm and explore the rich world of rhythmic complexities in order to be applied to your own music.

IRC Level 1
- online course with the basic material to get started on the Carnatic approach and its Western equivalents

   - January 4 - 15, 2021: sign-up


IRC Level 2 - online course to take the Level 1 materials to the next level, and explore Carnatic approaches to music in the West
   - Weekly Februari 2 to March 9, 2021: sign-up coming soon

IRC Utrecht
- the opportunity for online and new students to come together, continue the studies and make music together.
   - July 4 - 9, 2021: sign-up coming soon

IRC India
- a musical and cultural trip to South India for continued rhythmical and musical study at the source of this great music.
   - January 4 - 14, 2022 


IRC Level 1

The International Rhythm Course Level 1 is a two week intensive online program to solidify the fundamental expressive qualities of rhythm and explore the rich world of rhythmic complexities. The course is led by composer/flutist Ned McGowan (Utrecht Conservatory), the eminent Carnatic violinist Dr. Mysore Manjunath, renowned percussionist B.C. Manjunath, and vocalist Kristina Fuchs (Antwerp Conservatory).

The Carnatic system of rhythm with its practical approach to complexities, forms the International Rhythm Course's (IRC) basic method for both a foundation and a structured exploration of rhythm in music.

The IRC teaches the traditional approach to rhythm from the Carnatic perspective and places it both theoretically and practically next to Western methods. The rhythmical approach and pieces of B.C. Manjunath take a prominent role in the course materials.

The method of the course is to explore a limited number of topics in depth, such as quintuplets, korvai, melodic development, etc… Rhythmic exercises and pieces are taught, explained and analyzed for learning, inspiration and adaptation to your music.

The materials are introduced on both basic and advanced levels and assignments are given with various difficulties from which each participant can choose, according to their level. 

Participants from previous IRCs or other rhythm workshops who would like to review the materials are welcome, and their experience will also be taken into account in the assignments. 

The online experience consists of the teachers demonstrating, explaining, answering questions and participating in discussions. Students sing or play along at home with the teacher's demonstration. While theory is given, the main aim of the course is practical: homework is assigned to be learned and during the session some daily practice is understood.

There are two types of online lessons: teaching lessons and coaching lessons. Teaching lessons are structured lectures, explanations and demonstrations of rhythmic materials and pieces, for the full group. Coaching lessons take place in breakout rooms and are more interactive, where practice, discussion and feedback are mixed together in a free way. 

Participants are given the opportunity (but not required) to share their own videos of the assignments, which will be collected on a class web page with links to the videos of the lessons.

Possible additional subjects to be covered and developed:

  •      the mechanisms of a solid inner pulse
  •      the theory of Tala notational practices
  •      the neuroscience of time in the mind and body
  •      listening and analysis
  •      the standardization of rhythmic vocabulary
  •      the latest in rhythm tech



The Course is designed for professionals, college-level students, and experienced amateurs. Performers of all instruments and composers are welcome regardless of style (i.e. Classical, improvised or non-Western musics). Existing ensembles and bands are welcome to apply as a group, as well as other rhythmical art forms (dance, rap, etc...) . If there are any doubts or questions about qualifications, just write for more information.


Quotes from previous students of the IRC:

“I thought it was great to have a good mix of "essential" lessons in a seminar fashion and "practice" sessions to deepen understanding of the material and address questions/issues.”

“In my case I think that you are always learning by seeing your own practice and that of others. There were very creative approaches that trigger my new ideas.”

“I really appreciate the combination of theory and hands on practical exercises. Also using western + carnatic notation was great, cross-training the brain to feel+see things from different angles.”

“I think that in this type of course, with different assistants with such diverse musical practices, the content was well balanced. In my opinion, the different contents have multiple degrees of application and practice. From the simplest you can come up with very surprising and enriching practices. Each of the participants will have balanced the quantitative and qualitative aspects of the content presented.”

“It was left up to me to decide what and how to do things regarding the assignments, and that was perfect for me.  As it wasn't a graded course, I could relax into it and soak up what I was able to with no pressure.  Even with my advanced musical training, I was challenged continually!  Excellent!”

“My favourite thing about the course and how you managed to structure it was that it functioned effectively at whatever level the student was at. There were times where I felt "ah! I know this stuff and I'm comfortable with it" and there were simultaneously times where I felt "whoa! that's awesome! I understand it, but it'll take me few months of practice to build myself to that level"

“The rhythm course is very practical for me. I'm writing a new piece and I put many clear elements in it from this course.”

“I haven’t been a student since I left school but this course was so amazing to be a part of. All the teachers were fantastic, clear and precise with time for everyone. For me it was invaluable and an honour to have been a temporary student from the very best in the Carnatic world.”


The six days of teaching lessons are on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, spread over two weeks, at the following times (Central European CET):

16:15 - 17:30 and 17:45 - 19:00

The four coaching lessons take place on the in-between days, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and are optional for attendence. 

16:00 - 18:00

The full schedule is as follows:

January 4, 16:15 - 19:00 (with break) - teaching lesson 1

January 5, 16:00 - 18:00 - coaching

January 6, 16:15 - 19:00 - teaching lesson 2

January 7, 16:00 - 18:00 - coaching

January 8, 16:15 - 19:00 - teaching lesson 3

January 11, 16:15 - 19:00 - teaching lesson 4

January 12, 16:00 - 18:00 - coaching

January 13, 16:15 - 19:00 - teaching lesson 5

January 14, 16:00 - 18:00 - coaching

January 15, 16:15 - 19:00 - teaching lesson 6

All of the classes will be recorded for reference for all the participants.

For comparison, here are some times in other time zones of the teaching lesson times:

California: 7:15 - 10:00
New York / Boston: 10:15 - 13:00
UK: 15:15 - 16:00
Western Europe: 16:15 - 19:00
Turkey: 17:15 - 20:00
Iran: 18:15 - 21:00
Madagascar: 18:15 - 21:00 
India: 20:45 - 23:30


Photos from IRC 2019

B.C. Manjunath

Dr. Mysore Manjunath

Ned McGowan

Kristina Fuchs