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Music Education in Nepal

Abhishek Bhandari

January 02, 2023
Last updated January 08, 2023
Music Education in Nepal

Music is a favorite hobby to many and a passion for music enthusiasts. Music is one of the most promising careers which has vast potential. Still, due to a lack of good music institutions, and teachers, music aspirants must study abroad as many good universities and colleges offer music as a course. There is no such subject as music in schools; despite the evident facts and benefits of music in children's brain development, physical and mental health, etc. There are only a few good music schools or centers in Nepal. Most people who hope to become a musician hesitate and even leave to pursue their passion because private schools and music institutions can be expensive for some families to afford.

Importance of Music Education

Music education plays a pivotal role in a child's classroom performance. Music helps children build social skills and gives them a creative outlet essential for their growth. Research has shown that pieces stimulate children's brains and expose them to various languages. Exposure to other languages through music lays a basis for a student's capacity to comprehend and interact in a foreign language.

Develops memory

Music develops excellent memory skills. That's why we remember listening to a song for the first time in a long time and still know the lyrics. Students who participate in music education also develop their mental capacities in various ways. When preparing for a performance, students must know all parts of the music in addition to song words. Students must simultaneously retain dynamics, pitches, rhythms, and other aspects. Students can then apply their memory techniques in their academic and academic settings.

Allows to explore different cultures

Music education allows students to experience different cultures through the medium of music. In early music education, songs and games from other countries are highly prevalent. Students learn how other children play and compare that knowledge to their own lives, which leads to an understanding of different cultures and a beautiful acceptance of others.

Develops social skill

Collaboration and teamwork are essential in music education. Students learn to listen while playing instruments together. To better judge volume levels, the use of dynamics, and much more, they must listen to others. Cooperation and teamwork are also necessary when performing basic musical tasks like rhythmic and melodic notation. Students soon learn to respect one another's ideas and perspectives and how to combine those ideas to finish the task at hand effectively.

Students in school bands and choirs learn how to work together as a team, develop individual and collective talents, and become a support system for each other. This special bond also increases student engagement in school, increasing their chances of participating in extracurricular activities. It also promotes multitasking and helps in improved coordination of hands and eyes. Student musicians must read music, interpret it, and physically initiate the music by playing their instrument. These steps are repeated continuously throughout any performance of a piece of music, and even the youngest learners slowly develop their coordination skills through continued music practice.

Makes people happy

Because music is a creative outlet, it releases happy hormones like dopamine and serotonin and makes one happy when playing musical instruments. Listening to music or playing music can reduce and cure  depression, stress and anxiety and other mental health related illnesses as well.  It also teaches students work ethics, discipline, and to have a positive mindset towards life.

Background of Music Education in Nepal 

Kathmandu University School of Arts, Padma Kanya Multiple Campus, Saraswati Campus, and Lalitkala Campus have started undergraduate and postgraduate classes in music.

The government had decided to teach music subjects under the technical and vocational stream by making a curriculum in 2073 BS to provide music education from the school level. Padma Kanya Campus has offered dance and singing subjects at the undergraduate level since 2020 BS. However, the students were still forced to migrate abroad for further education. The campus has also started post-graduation to remove the same obligation.

The debate over the formal study of music has been going on for a long time. In 2038 BS, music was as a creative art expression amounting to 25 marks out of 100 integers in Social Studies. However, schools did not teach music formally in schools.

Furthermore, at the initiative of Music Nepal, the Ministry of Education approved the development. It operated the curriculum by establishing the Nepal Music School almost a decade ago. Since 2062 BS, the school has been providing informal training in various genres of music. But, formal teaching was yet to be commenced.

Similarly, The Ministry of Education has made arrangements for a formal reading of the 'Music' subject since 2070 B.S. in classes 6, 7, and 8 as the subject of 100 integers. However, the number of schools offering this subject is meager.

Former Vice-Chancellor of the Nepal Academy of Music and Drama, Sarubhakta, said that government bodies are still reluctant to start a formal education system in Nepal and invest in research. According to him, the institute's annual budget was 25 million, which was not enough for programs and research. He said the ministry had been asked to increase the funding to Rs 65 million.khoi video? During his tenure, he published seven books, including folk and cultural, musical studies, and other research books. He added that the students could use the books produced by the institute as reference material. "Although the government has included this subject in the curriculum, it has failed to garner much attention among the students," said the Curriculum Development Center.

Music Schools and Centers

Even though some private schools and colleges had been unofficially imparting music education, it had not been formally commenced in Nepal. Musicians and music lovers have long emphasized that Nepal should also start formal music education.

Nepal Music Center

The Nepal Music Center (NMC), also known as the Nepal Sangeet Vidyalaya, was founded in 2006 AD and is situated in Pingalasthan, Kathmandu. The center has been exploring the folk music of many ethnic groups as a potential teaching resource since it opened. NMC also offers classes in a range of musical genres. Music technology, vocals, drums, guitar, tabla, music theory, arranging, and composing are a few of them. NMC was selected as the pilot school to conduct the program offered for the first time in Nepal in 2016 when the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology integrated music into technical stream education. Therefore, there is no question that this is one of Kathmandu's top music schools.

Kathmandu University Department of Music 

Kathmandu University (KU) Department of Music in Bhaktapur established in August 1996 AD, taught ethnomusicology (B.A. and M.A.), practical Music (North Indian classical and Nepalese local traditions) to Nepalese and international students. Since then, it has given Nepal's musical traditions a chance to survive via research, practice, documentation, preservation, communication, appreciation, and creative growth. It has been the mission of the music department of Kathmandu University.

Kathmandu Jazz Conservatory

The Kathmandu Jazz Conservatory (KJC), situated in Jhamsikhel, Lalitpur, was founded in 2007 AD. The KJC, one of Kathmandu's top music schools, offers one-hour or 30-minute private and group lessons in piano/keyboard, guitar, vocals, drums, bass, saxophone, violin, and eastern instruments like the bansuri, madal, and tabla, among other devices. Similar to how the school gives instrument classes, it provides two hours of music theory instruction.

Along with it, the KJC offers diploma programs in jazz and pop-rock. The duration of the diploma program is six to seven hours per week for the first year and seven to nine hours for the second.

Kaleidoscope Music Academy

Kaleidoscope Music Academy is one of Kathmandu's oldest yet best music schools. It was established in 1985 AD. Located in Putalisadak, Kathmandu, the music institute offers classes in vocals and different instruments such as guitar, keyboard, drums, and others. Additionally, the academy also has a practice room.

Sadhana Kala Kendra

Based in Putalisadak, Kathmandu, Sadhana Kala Kendra was established in 1991 AD. It is a government-registered and recognized music school. As one of the best music schools in Kathmandu, it provides eastern and western music classes. Alongside, it also offers dance classes. 

Famous artists such as Raju Lama, Dhiraj Rai, Niruta Singh, and Aryan Sigdel are some of the alum of Sadhana Kala Kendra.

Sushila Art Academy 

The Sushila Arts Academy is named after the honor of Sushila Koirala, the first democratically elected prime minister of Nepal and the wife of B.P. Koirala. It is situated in, Maharajgunj, Kathmandu.

Sushila Arts Academy is a private extracurricular institution serving both children and adults. The Academy offers a selection of music, dance, art, and theater classes.

Sushila Arts Academy holds as the arts are the foundation of all education, each person's individuality should be developed in a holistic manner through the arts. Only the arts are able to generate intelligence capable of independent thought and judgment by fusing aesthetic and sensory elements.The Academy hopes to become recognized as one of Nepal's top music academies.

Surshala Music Academy

Surshala Music Academy, located at Arun Thapa Chowk, Lalitpur, was established in 2004. It is the first and only music academy affiliated with the Council for Technical Education and Vocational Training (CTEVT), proving to be one of the best music schools in Kathmandu. Along with providing courses on vocals and various musical instruments, it also offers classes in lyric writing, composition, arrangement, live tools, recording, and video. With that, the music academy is also socially conscious. It has been providing free music lessons to 100 financially weak students that are talented and passionate about learning music.  

Asian Himalayan Music School 

Asian Himalayan Music School is one of the popular music schools in kathmandu.Founded in 1994 with a purpose to explore, study and preserve traditional Nepali arts,AHMS has been conducting  traditional and modern dance, music, and vocal classes. The traditional instruments taught to play are of a wide range representing different ethnic groups of Nepal such as Madal, Sarangi, Damphu, and Binayo.  Some Programs offered by Asian Himalayan music school are on vocals, harmonium, piano, guitar, violin, keyboard, flute, sarangi, madal, and tabla

Musica Music Institute

The Playing for Change Foundation has funded the establishment of the Musica Music Institute in Patan, Lalitpur, Nepal. Mr. Hari Kul started this program at his little drum store, and with the help of Dinesh and Mahesh Nakarmi, it has since grown into the newly established Musica Music Institute. The institute offers computer access, the option to record classes, and is conducting open concerts for students to demonstrate what they have learned.

Hari Kul Music School 

Lalitpur, Nepal's Patan is home to the Hari Kul Music School. Mr. Hari Kul, a well-known musician in Nepal who also creates hand-crafted musical instruments, is in charge of running and overseeing it.

Hari hosts children twice weekly and teaches them both traditional and contemporary music with the help of the Playing For Change Foundation. We had to include this institute's name on this list of the top music academies in Kathmandu because of what it is doing in the field of music in Nepal. Programs Available in Hari Kul music School are music (traditional and modern), drum class, followed by a guitar class, a keyboard class, a harmonium class, a tabla class, and a sarangi class.

Doremi Sangeet Pathshala

Doremi Sangeet Pathshala is situated in Jamal, Kathmandu. Doremi Sangeet Pathshala is a music school that has been instructing music to students interested in becoming musicians or pursuing careers in the music business, as the name suggests. All music classes are overseen by knowledgeable and experienced teachers.

Kala Maruni Kendra

An entertainment school ,Maruni Kala Kendra is situated in Putalisadak, Kathmandu, Nepal.Maruni Kala Kendra has provided training programs in music, dance, and the arts ever since it was founded.- Programs Available at Maruni Kala kendra are music and dance.

Some other notable music institutions in Kathmandu are:

  • Memory Music Art Center
  • Royal Music Academy
  • Natyeshwor Music Training Center

Scopes of Music Education 

Music is a multidisciplinary field; it has wide-ranging career options. There are many opportunities in the music industry itself. Being involved in the music industry is more than being a pop star or a well-liked singer. This industry has many different lines of work, including music arrangers, composers, lawyers, sound engineers, music teachers, and music therapists.

Music is a significant business with many career opportunities because of the development of satellite television, social networking sites, the rise in popularity of music channels, and corporate sponsorship of musical events. Even though success and wealth in this sector heavily depend on chance and receiving a lucky break, once you get started, there are plenty of opportunities to make good money. However, the possibilities for a full-time career in the Nepalese music industry are limited to those with remarkable skills. In this industry, competition is fierce. Numerous professionals work part-time as musicians in the Nepalese music business. As a result, freelancers, technicians, or those in management are most individuals employed in the music industry.

Challenges of Music Education 

Academicians know the importance of Music Education schools. And yet, it seems it is being offered less and less in many school systems. Unfortunately, many schools have begun to exclude music from their curriculums to make room for another subject.

Music has marked many aspects of Nepal's culture for generations. There are unique styles and genres of music attached to a particular ethnicity, each different from the others. There is music that differentiates a specific community from others. Ours is a society where every season has its song. So, music education needs to be expanded to preserve music with a historical identity. Formal studies are the key to the study, research, and development of music.

Research has shown that the country has suffered substantial economic losses due to the government's delay in conducting formal music classes. The local folk songs, singers, instrumentalists, and folklore of the village are gradually disappearing. Experts also say that music education is needed to protect them.

The curriculum prepared by the government includes subjects of Nepali ethnic music and Eastern classical and Western Music. But, due to the shortage of teachers, most schools have been unable to teach this subject. Nepali Music will take an unexpected leap if this subject is to be widely taught at the school level.

To some extent, foreign and local researchers have identified and protected it. But it has not moved forward enough, due to which the new generation has not been able to collect those songs with no environment to listen to.

Nepal's notable musicians, instrumentalists, and singers studied music overseas. One is Saneer, who joined Visible Music College in Dallas, Texas, with dreams of music and better opportunities. Being a curious person, his interest in music drew him closer to the world of music. He had to spend time away from his family to pursue his musical education, but he didn't want the next generation to suffer similarly. He, therefore, plans to establish a school that provides high-quality music education after graduating and gaining sufficient expertise in the field.

The reasons why fewer children are pursuing their interest in music education have many different facets. Below is a discussion of a few of them:

Time and Commitment

Many students struggle to commit the time they need to learn music. Many hours of practice are required to master an instrument that students fail to engage. Seeing their teachers and other musicians do it efficiently, they fail to understand the depth and commitment needed for music. Students also have to give time to other subjects and activities, so that time management can be stressful. 

Career prospect and priority 

Music is usually seen as a hobby or a leisure activity. Many parents want their children to choose a field of study with good career prospects. Music education does not lie in priority to many, it is known as an activity done in leisure time. People especially, the generation of boomers fail to recognize music as a career . Even though people are passionate and interested in pursuing music education, due to uncertainty, people do not see it as a promising career or source of income. 

Expenses and affordability 

One of the significant challenges in music education is its affordability, it is expensive to pursue music education, and it doesn't guarantee that it can make a student master the instrument. Neither can it ensure that all the years of investment and commitment to music can be of financial value. So many talented students often cannot afford music education despite wanting to become a musician. 

Lack of market 

Music has its own separate identity in a global market, in Nepal though, its market is small. Musicians are often discouraged from producing an album because people do not like to buy it rather stream it on free platforms like spotify,Youtube and watch it on TV. Therefore, good music and musicians are being produced less in nepali music industry. 

Motivation to continue music

A student who is passionate and driven is likely to succeed. With motivation and the desire to practice and get better, even pupils with average talent can achieve success. Motivating students who do not want to play or practice is difficult. Music requires dedication and determination to master any technique. Music needs Improvement and training—which in turn require motivation. People often withdraw from music, unable to have a stable source of income. 

The biggest problem in music education today is how few policymakers, school administrators, local politicians, and governments recognize the need for organized and effective music learning throughout life, especially for our children and young people. Actively learning music over an extended period has measurable long-term positive effects on an individual's or group's physical, psychological, social, and cultural well-being. The benefits of music are being supported by more and more scientific research in clinical science, neuroscience, and social science. There is no denying that music has a significant and favorable impact on health. Even though we still understand how learning music can promote long-term benefits (physical, emotional, cognitive) while promoting various areas of cognitive functioning (such as literacy), social inclusion, and cohesion within and among multiple groups. Everyone, not just the fortunate few, should prioritize investing in high-quality music education because it can improve people's lives at all stages.

Co-wrote by Binisha Maharjan