Children’s Music Seminar
The “Children’s Music Seminar” is a long-standing program in Hamamatsu City which aims to expose children to a wide range of music and grant them the opportunity to experience the joy of musical performance. Children enrolling in the seminar can try their hands at experiencing music in different fields in the three unique classes: traditional Japanese music, Western music, and brass band.
In this edition, we would like to introduce the hogaku (traditional Japanese music) class, in which students have the opportunity to play and learn Koto, an ancient Japanese string instrument. This class is separated into two groups, one for 8-9 year olds and the other for 10-15 year olds. The students take four classes and then perform on stage.
In addition to official Koto instructors, students from the Koto club of a local high school volunteered to help the children learn to play the instrument. Since many of participants had never touched Koto before, they were taught how it worked and how to read music which was written in numbers and letters, totally different from usual musical note sheets.
After an introductory hands-on session getting to know the instrument, students began practicing. Whilst the children were initially off to a wobbly start, they soon found their feet and were able to play the instrument with some help from the high school volunteers. Since there was no conductor for Koto ensemble, one child in each group was given the task of signaling to start the performance. In the last practice session before the performance, they practiced not only the musical piece but also their movements on stage.
Once all the lessons were completed, a concert was held to showcase their progress in front of their parents and members of the local community, including a performance from the high school volunteers. Overall, the event was a tremendous success.
The aim of this program is not only to give children the opportunity to learn how to play Koto and experience the joy of musical performance, but also to enjoy a sense of accomplishment through performance and to socialize with students from different schools and people from different generations. The program provides a meaningful opportunity for children to learn social skills and work towards a collective goal.