Quality

Commitment to excellence in
teaching and performance

Indian Music

Overview

Taalim School of Indian Music is a premiere institute of South Asian performing arts and education guided by Indian music maestro Pandit Divyang Vakil. Based in the NJ/NYC area, we offer world-class professional Indian music and dance performances, workshops, K-12 outreach, residencies, tabla sales and formal instruction.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, our normal group and private lessons offered at locations all over New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, and Virginia are currently being conducted online. Enrollment is currently open for online classes, but you can learn more about our physical locations.

Taalim productions have been presented in theaters, stadiums, and schools all across the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Our experience ranges from evening-length feature performances for thousands, to intimate house concerts for classical audiences, to educational and entertaining assemblies for children, to master classes for colleges and universities.

Taalim faculty and staff

Guru - Pandit Divyang Vakil

Pandit Divyang Vakil (known as Guruji, or “respected teacher”) is a tabla guru, Indian rhythm composer, and teacher of philosophy. His expansive experience of over 35 years as a guru has produced innumerable music professionals.

Guruji becomes immensely involved in the process of teaching and understands each of his students on a personal level as he guides them in their musical journey. No compromise is permitted when it comes to the musical progression and advancement of the student. Balancing the traditional guru-shishya parampara with the modern society, he has developed his own teaching pedagogy for tabla for today’s student. All of the teachers at Taalim have received training on how to teach in this methodology from him.

Korean Artist Jin Won

Jin Won

South Korean artist Jin Won is an accomplished kathak dancer, tabla player, and music educator.

Her love of Indian arts led her to live in India for over 15 years before joining the Taalim School as a faculty member and artist. She is a tabla disciple of Pandit Divyang Vakil, and studied kathak under Shrimati Shubha Desai. While in India, she also worked with leading kathak choreographers, including Pandit Birju Maharaj, Shrimati Kumudini Lakhia, Shrimati Saswati Sen, and Maulik Shah & Ishira Parikh. Her unconventional journey has been the subject of a documentary by the Korean Broadcasting Service and serves as an inspiration to many.

Her passion is to spread Indian classical arts. In this aim, she has authored a textbook on tabla, which is currently being translated into Korean. Committed to her students’ growth, Jin is known as a firm, yet amicable teacher.

Mike Lukshis

Mike Lukshis has dedicated his life to the study and growth of Indian classical tabla through performance, teaching, and community building. He is accomplished as a solo artist as well as in accompaniment to Indian classical dance and instrumental music. Over the last decade, Michael has performed in venues across the United States, Canada, Mexico, and India. In addition, he has taught hundreds of students of all ages and backgrounds as well as conducted assemblies, lectures, and master classes in schools and universities all over the United States.

From the very beginning, Mike has been trained exclusively under Pandit Divyang Vakil and has the rare opportunity to live in a Gurukal style setting where the student lives under constant guidance and supervision of their Guru to provide the most intimate training.

Mike's experience in performing goes beyond tabla solo, kathak dance accompaniment, and Indian classical music accompaniment. He has also performed with many American based rock and pop bands as well as ensembles of Iranian, bluegrass, Western classical, jazz, Jewish, and other genres. His performances have brought him to prestigious venues including Lincoln Center, Symphony Space, State Theatre New Jersey, McCarter Theatre, and the NRG Stadium in Houston, TX.

Kaumil Shah

Ahmedabad native Kaumil Shah’s identity is shaped by tabla. Prior to joining the Taalim School, he was a tabla teacher and performing artist with Rhythm Riders in India. Aside from teaching tabla at the Taalim School, he is a member of Taalim tabla groups, and plays djembe with dance & world drum ensemble Pradhanica.

A disciple of Pandit Divyang Vakil, Shah has travelled the world performing tabla with celebrated ensemble Talavya, performing at Ciudad de las Ideas (Mexico), Percussive Arts Society International Convention, INK Conference (formerly TEDIndia), Vancouver Island Musicfest, and more. Album credits include two Talavya releases – Tabla Ecstasy and Power of Tabla. Shah is also a multi-percussionist with fusion band Taan.

Sejal Kukadia

Sejal Kukadia is originally from upstate NY, and is a disciple of Pandit Divyang Vakil. Sejal is the author of Tabla Taalim: A Study in North Indian Percussion. As a member of the Middle Eastern Sephardic music band, Divahn, based in NYC, Sejal has traveled throughout the country spreading the art of tabla to non-Indian audiences. Sejal is one of very few female tabla artists in the USA. She is a member of the all-female tabla ensemble, Taalika, and a former member of the duo Tabla Upaj and the trio Tabla Triveni. As one of the original founding members of Taalim School of Indian Music, Sejal has been working at the school since 2002. In addition to teaching at Taalim, she is the head tabla teacher at Young Indian Culture Group, Inc in Long Island and Vidya Kendra School in Kearny, NJ.

Loren Oppenheimer

Loren Oppenheimer is originally from Charlottesville, Virginia. He is a committed and sincere disciple of Pandit Divyang Vakil. Loren is a tabla soloist and accompanist for music and kathak dance, and a full time teacher at the Taalim School of Indian Music. Loren has also conducted workshops and given performances in the USA, Canada, and India, and has participated in numerous community events which celebrate world music in the US.

Loren heads Taalim’s operations in Virginia.

Rushi Vakil

Rushi Vakil is an Indian composer, musician, and music producer. He is known for his musical versatility and production in a range of styles including Indian classical, pop, folk, world, and electronic, to name just a few. Whether scoring movies and short films, composing and producing singles, or creating sound for global level stage productions, all of Rushi’s work integrates Indian soul with world music genres, appealing rhythm arrangements, vivid soundscapes, and distinctive originality.

As a musician, he performs regularly on national and international stages with some of the finest global musicians. With his own professionally equipped recording studio and a multi-facility production house at hand, he constantly creates and produces music, raising the bar higher with each production.

Guru - Pandit Divyang Vakil

Pandit Divyang Vakil (known as Guruji, or “respected teacher”) is a tabla guru, Indian rhythm composer, and teacher of philosophy. His expansive experience of over 35 years as a guru has produced innumerable music professionals.

Guruji becomes immensely involved in the process of teaching and understands each of his students on a personal level as he guides them in their musical journey. No compromise is permitted when it comes to the musical progression and advancement of the student. Balancing the traditional guru-shishya parampara with the modern society, he has developed his own teaching pedagogy for tabla for today’s student. All of the teachers at Taalim have received training on how to teach in this methodology from him.