Culture Culture

01/12/2019 - 07:36

Introducing Ca Hue (Hue Singing) into schools: A preparation for the future

Incorporating Ca Hue into the local schools’ curriculum is one of the many programs that the Department of Culture and Sports and the Department of Education and Training are jointly deploying in order to amplify the influence of this traditional art in the community.

Students of Thong Nhat Secondary School in a Ca Hue practice session

Learned it and then loved it

The practice sessions of the Ca Hue club of Thong Nhat Secondary School take place in the last two periods of every Thursday afternoon, where students are instructed by Mrs. Kim Lien, the former Vice Principal of the Intermediate School of Culture and Arts. Following the rhythm created by her knocks, the whole class was rehearsing the song "Ly Doan Xuan".

With joyful lyrics and melody, each verse of the song "Ly Doan Xuan" was chanted in the right tune and rhythm by the students. After conquering this song, the students moved to the next one, “Hò mái xắp”. Even though this was an extracurricular lesson, everyone was so enthusiastic and attentive.

In the beginning, the Ca Hue class of Thong Nhat Secondary School had nearly 100 students enrolled. After a screening period, the class is now an active forum for about 30 students who have the gift and passion.

Hoang Thanh Ngoc, a 6th grader, was excited when sharing: “Before attending the class, I didn't even know what Ca Hue was, but now, I really enjoy it. I like Ca Hue because it's so gentle and that’s exactly what I would go for. Singing Ca Hue is hard, but I will try to do my best with what the teacher has taught. Besides spending time learning and practicing in class, I often go online to listen to Ca Hue to learn more about it”.

Launched in August, the program of teaching Ca Hue heritage at schools organized by the Department of Culture and Sports in collaboration with the Department of Education and Training is an activity within the framework of a cooperation program between these two bodies in order to strengthen the organization of cultural and sports activities for students.

The program has just trained singing Ca Hue for 24 music teachers of the secondary schools in Hue city and taught singing Ca Hue for students in the form of Ca Hue clubs at three secondary schools, including Nguyen Tri Phuong, Thong Nhat, and Tran Cao Van. The lecturers from the Intermediate School of Culture and Arts and local artisans are those who provided the training and performed in Ca Hue exchange activities.

During three months of training, the teachers were introduced to general knowledge about the history of establishment and development of Ca Hue; learned to sing popular Hue folk songs and songs of Ca Hue; and had chance to perform and interact with Ca Hue artists and singers. The teachers both learned the old version of the songs and techniques to apply new lyrics into the same melodies in order to make them suitable and learnable to the students of different ages as well as make them applicable in various performance events.

Ms. Tran Thi Hong Anh, a music teacher of Thong Nhat Secondary School, joyfully shared: “I studied vocal music, and I have never learned Ca Hue performance; so, at first for me it was difficult, especially to master the singing techniques. Gradually, thanks to the devoted instruction from the instructors, now I love to sing Ca Hue. I can sing certain songs quite well and I am confident to teach my students”.

Preparation for the future

Ms. Nguyen Phuoc Nhu Y, Deputy Principal of Thong Nhat Secondary School shared that when this policy was approved, the music teachers were a bit worried. However, after three months of training, they have mastered several Ca Hue melodies as well as Hue traditional folk songs. As soon as they started to learn, they realized that Ca Hue is such a gorgeous type of music which actually embraces artistic values ​​that the teachers need to perceive”.

Ms. Y added that besides Ca Hue Club, the music teachers spend time at the end of each regular lesson to teach students some simple rhythms. Students from many classes have been able to sing and felt much excited. This is a necessary activity to educate students on some basic skills and on the love for the nation. If the teachers could inspire the children, they will love Ca Hue for sure.

Ms. Dang Thi Quynh Nga, Head of the Ethnic Music Group, Intermediate School of Culture and Art reckoned: “Apparently, the students could not sing Ca Hue smoothly just in a day or two. But it’s sure that there will be more people singing Ca Hue or playing Ca Hue with their instruments. Then many more people will start to foster their love for Ca Hue. It’s something we should be happy about. The teachers can relate the rhythms they have learned to teach their students local folk songs, incorporate them into music activities at school, and orientate better the students’ participation and performance in traditional art activities”.

Upon completing the training, the teachers and local artists will work together to teach Ca Hue and nurture the love for this musical heritage for generations of students. Introducing Ca Hue heritage into school is a preparation for the future in order to create a good pervasion for this heritage in the community, especially in the younger generations. This way, a firm foundation can be established for the effective and sustainable conservation and promotion of this priceless heritage.

This also plays an important role in creating a solid basis for building the profile for Ca Hue to submit to UNESCO for its recognizing Ca Hue as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity in the future.

Dr. Phan Thanh Hai, Director of the Department of Culture and Sports, shared his insight: “The purposes of introducing Ca Hue into schools are not only to teach students to sing Ca Hue but also to help them realize the humanistic values underpinned in each piece of work. As a result, it is hoped that the children will appreciate and love the heritage of Ca Hue”.

Story and photos: Minh Hien