Adding some spices on a dish will make it taste richer. Just like this, life will be much richer with small joys, and music could be one such joy. Then, how is music education?Korean music education aims to raise a whole-person, equipped with cultural knowledge, as a global citizen by cultivating musical emotions, expression, and recognition of cultural pluralism. To be specific, it stands for a certain degree of musical capability, appreciation of music in various genres and the attitude of keeping music as a part of life.
However, it doesn’t seem that many people are savoring various genres of music. INDIGO conducted a survey on 319 KNUE students who completed the 12-year of the public curriculum in Korea. Those who replied that they mostly listen to K-pop and pop songs accounted for 83.8 percent and 51.8 percent respectively. Classical music accounted for 20.1 percent, jazz 7.3 percent and Korean traditional music 1.7 percent. In addition, musical proficiency does not seem to meet the level that the curriculum desires. Those who reported that they can identify the keys, tempo, and dynamics when reading a score accounted for 53.2 percent. Those who can find the tonic accounted for 45.2 percent.
Then what are the programs or aids that the Ministry of Education is applying to improve the current situation? The ministry has been creating/implementing the ‘School Art Education Activation Business’. ‘1 sports activity per student and 1 music instrumental instruction per student’ is one of the major purposes of the business. The kind of music program varies from Ocarina, violin to dancing. To fulfill the goal, the government is expanding both political and financial support in various ways. Creating an art-specialized school is one of them. It is a general public middle-high school, but it is different from other schools in that it operates classes with extra-hours on art education along with other general classes. It has been expanded (from 45 classes to 88 classes this year) and is going to be expanded more. Also, the government designated 211 Art Dream Core School in less-favored areas and offered financial support. Along with that, the government supported schools with student orchestra and aided for expansion of spaces for art in schools. Instrument education support center is another catalyst for a more active educational environment. Metropolitan and Provincial Offices of Education designate regional facilities such as student culture centers as an art education center. It facilitates sharing of dusty instruments and lends the instruments or other facilities to schools. The center has been used for student art programs, art performances, art exhibitions and even for teacher training.
Besides the two ways mentioned above, many other ways are being discussed. Min Gyung-hoon, professor of Music Education in KNUE, stressed the importance of increasing events such as festivals that can make people enjoy music. He also suggested offering incentives to high-performing teachers. Although there seem to be things that need to be improved in music education, various plans also have been discussed and implemented. How about giving lasting attention and support so that better music education and thus a life with colorful tastes could be approachable to more students.
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