Promoting and transmitting traditional music, 2011-2012

Music lessons, in contemporary Kyrgyz music institutions are still taught based on the old-fashioned principles deprived of any spirituality. Not only does N.Abdrakhmanov teach komuz playing using En Belgi system, but also demonstrates traditional model of teaching music.

Therefore, the main component of the project is a teaching seminar for high school, music school/collage/university teachers of music throughout the country. Working with teachers is one of the most efficient ways to cooperate with the state structures, speedily reach remote areas and incorporate new teaching methodologies. It might have been little more difficult and time-consuming provided we tried to introduce the En Belgi system through official state educational structure, since, unfortunately, efficiency of our state structures leaves much to be desired. The main methodological tool of the seminar is a book onKomuz playing with Nurak Andrakhmonov’s En Belgi note system devised and published by the Aigine CRC together with N.Abdrakhmanov in 2010 with a DVD disk. The leading expert and instructor of the seminar is N.Abdrakhmanov himself.

The year-long program of the teaching seminar was evenly divided between three sessions, 1) spring set-up session aimed at introducing basics of the En Belgi system and learning elementary-level melodies and folk songs; 2) extended summer session with a goal of mastering conditional sings and hand playing techniques, as well as learning advanced-level melodies; 3) final fall session was designed to review all the melodies and materials of the previous two sessions, analyze participants’ progress and based on abovementioned grant a certificate acknowledging their ability to teach komuz with En Belgi system.

The theoretical part of all the sessions included explanation of all the En Belgi signs accompanied by reading the music. Basics started with learning easy and small children’s songs and, with each session, went on with learning more and more advanced melodies, special hand play techniques and other conventional signs. Both, participants and staff members of the Aigine CRC witnessed simplicity of the En Belgi as all the participants easily memorized all the main signs (i.e. notes) and learned start-up assignments without any difficulty, which gave a perfect start for mastering more advanced melodies. However, those participants without knowledge of reading music, experienced minor hardships when it came to advanced melodies; they were confusing certain signs and had difficulty reading them. Every learned melody was strengthened by frequent repetitions and short quizzes; at the end of each session participants passed through an examination on new and old learned melodies. Moreover, participants expressed their desire, not only to learn those melodies scheduled in the program, but also asked N. Abdrakhmanov set to En Belgi some additional melodies and songs, which was a perfect example of their eagerness and interest to learn as many melodies and songs as possible on En Belgi system.