Want to Learn How to Play the Janggu? Then Take a Culture Class

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Want to Learn How to Play the Janggu? Then Take a Culture Class

One of the best ways to understand a culture is to experience it firsthand. Taking lessons in the Korean traditional arts, for instance, can help people from abroad get more out of their stay, by both opening a new window to the culture and gaining a new skill. In Seoul, there are classes available for foreigners who wish to experience a traditional art close up.

National Museum of Korea

The museum's Cultural Classes for Foreigners are offered in two subjects, pottery and traditional dyeing. The program was well received when it was introduced last fall, and thus is being offered again twice this year. In the pottery class, participants create their own ceramics after learning such skills as how to shape clay on the wheel in the Korean style.

In the dyeing class, students learn to create a variety of colorful dyes using Korean traditional methods. Both classes are taught in English. The dyeing class is also taught in Japanese.

Currently, about 40 people are participating in the first session of the program, which started last April and is scheduled to run for three months. The pottery class meets on Mondays between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m., and the dyeing class on Tuesdays between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. The classes are free of charge except for some material costs.

The latter session of the program will begin in September. Foreign residents in Korea over 18 can apply via fax (02-398-5070) or e-mail (ksw6212@hanmail.net). Include your name, phone number, job title and nationality in your application. Admission is limited to 20 students per class.

For more information, call the museum at 02-398-5241 (English service) or 02-398-5081 (Korean).

The National Center for Korean Traditional Performing Arts

Since 1993, the National Center for Korean Traditional Performing Arts offers free classes on Korean traditional music and dance to foreigners residing in Korea. The classes, which take place twice a year, introduce foreigners to Korean culture as well as promote performing arts.

The classes have been very popular over the past few years. Last year, 124 foreigners took classes in either the gayageum, a 12-stringed instrument similar to the zither, the janggu, an hour-glass shaped drum, or traditional dance, including talchum, the mask dance.

Classes are conducted in both English and Korean. The first session this year began in March. The second session will run between Sep. 15 and Dec. 21. Class meets every Saturday at 10 a.m. for two hours. Instruments will be provided free of charge. Admission is limited to a total of 160 people, and classes are offered at both beginner and intermediate level. While beginning classes can accommodate up to 40 students in janggu and dance and up to 20 in gayageum, intermediate classes are limited to between 10 and 15 students.

For detailed information, contact the center at 02-580-3052 (English service available).

by Lee Sang-min

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