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Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Studying Music: What notes to heed

 Music has always been a subject of entertainment. When students aim to become doctors, engineers and bankers, music remains a hobby with a few making it a career which is often frowned upon. But there is a scope in music which goes beyond a performing artist. .

Option in secondary level.
One can study Music in secondary school level at Nepal Sangeet Vidhyalaya - the Ministry of Education introduced Music in the Technical Stream Education in 2016. Starting from Class IX, it teaches four core subjects in the general stream - Nepali, English, Mathematics and Science (100 marks each) along with core subjects in Music - Fundamentals of Music, Music of Nepal, Instrument Keyboard, Music Technology, Music Business and Event Management (100 marks each) and gears one up for SEE. .

Sushant Gajurel,17, is one of the first students who appeared for SEE in Music recently. “I was sure I wanted to do music,” Gajurel says of why he joined Class IX in Nepal Sangeet Vidhyalaya. “So, why waste my two years.” .

“There should be an option to study Music education for those who want to,” Iman Bikram Shah, Principal of Nepal Sangeet Vidhyalaya opines. .

As per him, Music has been an optional subject like Optional Math and Optional English for Class VI to Class X since 2010 which schools can offer if they wish, however, it remains an extracurricular activity. .

Shah says, Music has always been a hobby and never carried academic importance as music is a creative art and can't be measured. .

In such a case Music has been overshadowed as students and their parents are more inclined towards subjects like Science or Engineering or Management. .


But then there are parents like Sushant's. “This is a practical subject,” Sita Gajurel quips adding, “He showed interest in music other than his regular studies. Rather than being bored studying what he doesn't like, he can enjoy and learn music practically - this way his learning will stay with him.”.

She feared taking this step but “Sushant was willing to work hard for it”. .

Moreover, after the SEE certificate, students can pursue higher secondary education in any stream..

Higher studies.
After getting their high school degree, and through audition, students can join Bachelor of Music being offered by Tribhuwan University (TU) or Kathmandu University (KU). .


If you are looking for raaga-based or sastriya sangeet (eastern classical music) knowledge, TU offers four years of annual BMus programme in Lalit Kala Campus and Sirjana College of Fine Arts. .

You can major in Tabala, Vocals and Flute, shares Niranjan Bhandari, flute teacher at Sirjana College of Fine Arts and Lalit Kala Campus Of Fine Arts. “Folk music of different parts of Nepal is also part of the curriculum,” he adds. .

Other subjects include Applied Theory and General Theory, Music Technology, among others. .

In the Master's level, you can major in Sitar, Vocals and Tabala. .

Sirjana College of Fine Arts also offers Music degree in high school level under National Examinations Board offering subjects Tabala, Bansuri, Vocals and Folk music along with English and Nepali “where basic knowledge of music is taught”..

And KU offers Bachelor of Music (BMus) in Ethnomusicology and Master of Music (MMus) in Ethnomusicology as well as PhD. “KU's music programmes are research-based and produces scholars. It also includes performing arts,” informs Rizu Tuladhar, who teaches ensemble aspect of music at KU. .


In its four-year, eight-semester programme, it offers knowledge in Music Theory and Notation, Practical Music, Introduction to Ethnomusicology, Sound Recording and Amplification, Music and Society, South Asian Civilisation, Sociology and Anthropology of Nepal, Advanced Music Theory, World Music, Music of Nepal, Classical Western Music among others. .

Guidance and knowledge.
As you follow your passion for music, you need guidance at some point of time. And in colleges and universities where all such resources are available, Shah feels one will “become better” as you get to focus on just your music for three years - “it makes a difference”..

After you come out of a university and institution of music, Tuladhar says they can equip the students with different aspects of music required for their future - performing to marketing to business to technical aspect. More than that, he says students will become better human beings as “it teachers you to respect others while you work in a team”. .

Tuladhar is of opinion that music education is about exploring what you don't have: “that is how you get originality or else you are making what is already there”. .

While pursuing BMus at Sirjana College of Fine Arts, flautist Ashish Maharjan, who took flute lessons since he was in Class VI informally, “got to learn about the varieties of theoretical knowledge of music, from history to music evolution to music business and know about different music of the world”. .

For him, getting a music degree is a bonus that backs your musical skill. Also, “you may not play after some years but the degree is going to stay with you forever”..

Not only colleges and universities, music institutions like Kathmandu Jazz Conservatory (KJC) too guide their students. With a sharing and learning approach, “we provide practical and theory knowledge,” points out Isu Shrestha, Creative and IT Director with KJC. “The great point of KJC is that you get to experience all aspects of music here, from performing to recording.” .


Performing and beyond .
Music has scope like any other profession, points out Shah. You can be a performer, teacher or go in its technical field of recording or background score or sound effects or music business - it is not just about the popstars and rockstars that we see around. .

Organology is one stream. After his MMus in Ethnomusicology which includes Organology, this is what Organologist Agrim Lama is doing. Taking it as an applied studies, he is into making the Nepali instrument tunguna. “I felt the importance to do this,” he shares pointing out, “When I was studying, its (tunguna) book and other resources were not available. I also felt the need to preserve my own instrument and document it.” .

And Sushant is looking forward to pursue a career in music arrangement which he says he was into it as a child..

source: the himalayan times, 14 june 2018

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