Culture Culture

13/06/2022 - 22:12

Heritage music training: A strategy to attract learners needed

Currently, the training of heritage music at Hue Academy of Music (HAM) encounters many difficulties, especially in enrollment. This reality worries the experts that there will be a lack of the successors to conserve heritage music in the long run

Training is a key answer to the heritage music conservation and promotion

Absence of learners

Since 1996, HAM Hue has opened the training majors in heritage music at the intermediate and university levels. However, in recent times, training these majors has faced many difficulties, mainly on account of the decreasing enrollment.

According to the statistics, the number of students majoring in heritage music at HAM is very low. Since 2017, the enrolment for heritage music majors has fallen significantly.

At the university level, only 4 students majoring in Nhã nhạc (the Royal Refined Music of Hue) and 1 student majoring in Đàn - ca Huế (Playing traditional musical instruments and Hue folk singing) could be recruited. At the intermediate level, the enrolment could not be made. Currently, there are only 4 students majoring in Nhã nhạc and Đàn - ca Huế. The number of out-of-work graduates is quite common.

According to Dr. Phan Thuan Thao, Deputy Director of the Institute for Research and Conservation of Music, HAM, the enrollment work depends largely on the professional needs of the society. Amid the present-day strong international exchange and integration, the traditional arts, including heritage music, capture little attention from the public. That makes it difficult for graduates to seek jobs. This is the major reason for the difficulty in the enrolment process.

In Hue, the jobs at State agencies and theaters for graduates majoring in heritage music are very few, and it is difficult for graduates to find jobs in accordance with their trained professions. Meanwhile, if giving performances for tourists, many people just come to learn at artisans’ houses to shorten the time.

Tran Huu Quang, MA, Vice Dean of the Faculty of Heritage - Traditional Music, HAM said that there were the mechanisms and policies to encourage learning traditional music such as exemption or reduction of 75% of tuition fees. However, the crux of the problem is primarily "output". Currently, there remains no mechanism or policy that is both encouraging and binding upon managers and human resource-using units after students graduate.

In enrolment work, it is also necessary to develop a coordination mechanism with the localities to grasp the actual demand for human resources in traditional and heritage music. On that basis, we should be unanimous in the enrollment plan for the units to ensure benefits for both sides and create outputs for students after their graduation.

An incentive and “output” regime for attraction needed

HAM's strength in heritage music training today is that it can grant the university degrees while many cultural and arts schools in the provinces only grant the intermediate or college degrees, and the conservatories at both ends of the country do not train these majors. In order to maintain these training majors, the academy needs to survey and learn carefully about the needs of society and learners.

Dr. Phan Thuan Thao said, “HAM should promote the advantages of granting university degrees in heritage music majors to open more alliance and association courses in the provinces across the country. The academy can study the need of heritage music conservation in the provinces to consider the possibility of opening university alliance training courses. If this direction is feasible, the academy will have a large enrollment nationwide.”

According to Nguyen Thi Viet Thao, MA, lecturer at the Faculty of Heritage– Traditional Music, in order to tap the advantages of heritage music majors, it is necessary to remove difficulties in enrollment through the mechanisms, policies, and drastic, synchronized moves of the units under the academy with a long-term, persistent strategy. In addition, there should be the appropriate adjustments to expertise, teaching and scientific research staff; syllabuses and curricula; policies for artisans; focus on training teaching staff specializing in heritage music.

“The academy should maintain an “open” mechanism, combining training with the performance and exhibition of tangible and intangible values ​​of heritage music types in the style of “the Central - Central Highlands Museum of Heritage Music" located at HAM to form a highlight of culture and  a tourist, sightseeing destination. Also, the academy should combine with Hue Theater of Traditional Royal Art in the excerpts of ritual dances in accordance with the Nguyen Dynasty's Royal Refined Music institution to attract tourists and promote enrollment," suggested Nguyen Thi Viet Thao, MA.

Currently, Western music types expanding are appealing to young people. Therefore, more priorities should be given to the enrollment of ethnic music majors in general and heritage music in particular, the incentives during the study especially after graduation in order to draw young people.

The academy also needs to clarify its advantages in training and the privileges that learners enjoy. In addition to passion, only when the learners realize the practical benefits can they consider choosing to register to sit for the entrance exam in heritage music majors.

“If we devote no much attention to the conservation and orientation of the traditional music, in the short run, there will be beyond doubt no young people who shoulder to shoulder conserve and preserve the artistic values of the traditional music in general and the heritage music in particular," Tran Huu Quang, MA expressed anxiety.

Story and photo: MINH HIEN