VietNamNet Bridge - Northern folk singing will be introduced as an official bachelor subject at the Faculty of Heritage Music, set up in 2007 and part of the Hue Music Academy.
Course subjects will include xam (ballads by blind musicians), ca tru (ceremonial singing) and quan ho (love duets).
Up to 20 students will sit entrance exams next month in order to access the course, to be taught by experts from the Ha Noi-based Viet Nam Traditional Music Development Centre, according to Prof Pham Minh Khang, the centre's director.
"In the near future, the faculty plans to offer additional subjects based on folk music from various regions of the country. Students enrolled in the new courses will be exempt from 70 per cent of tuition fees," said Nguyen Viet Duc, deputy director of the academy.
Khang added that the course on northern folk singing would be a first, even though faculties of traditional music already existed at various music institutes throughout the country.
"Although we initially focused on older audiences, we have realised that many young people love traditional music," he said.
According to Khang, the Hue Music Academy, mainly focused on teaching music heritage and traditional music studies, will also offer courses on Tay Nguyen (Central Highlands) gongs and nha nhac (Hue royal court music), which form the foundation for students to further study traditional music.
The academy, in co-ordination with the centre, will also teach students how to play folk instruments and sing folk songs in order to help them understand northern folk music better.
In the case of hat van (spiritual singing), students will be taught how to play the dan nguyet (moon-shaped two-string lute) and, in the case of ca tru (ceremonial singing), students will be taught how to play the phach (bamboo bars used as instruments in ca tru).
According to composer Thao Giang, deputy director of the centre, various instrumentalists, singers and famed researchers such as Prof Ngo Duc Thinh and Prof Phan Dang Nhat, will be teaching on the course.
The centre has trained students in traditional folk singing for six years. It has also helped organise frequent performances at the Dong Xuan Market in Ha Noi's Old Quarter, the Dong Lac Temple (38 Hang Dao Street), the Kim Ngan Temple (42 Hang Bac Street) and the Quan De Temple (28 Hang Buom Street), in order to assist in turning each venue into a tourist hub.