Primary students are taught to sing Quang region’s folk songs in a music lesson. (Photo: dantri.com.vn)
Each day at 7 p.m. a folk song class begins on the sidewalk next to Sa Huynh Culture Museum. Seated on two sedge mats, children practice traditional folk melodies, "hat boi" (classical opera), and love duets of the Quang region, which stretches from Quang Nam to Quang Ngai provinces in central Vietnam.
Usually, two or three instructors are available to teach them how to sing and play instruments.
Teacher Phung Thi Ngoc Hue said: “The Hoi An Culture and Sports Center and Huy Hieu Secondary School have jointly organized the class for almost a decade. Every night children come to sing and entertain tourists. Every three months, we review the course and hand out learning aids as rewards to encourage the children to come back again.”
Hue is a veteran artist with the performing arts troupe of the Hoi An Culture and Sports Center who helps teach the free class.
It takes a couple of days to learn a Ly melody of Quang Nam folk music. In a month, a participant can learn 30 basic Ly melodies.
Students are also taught folk singing styles of the northern and north central region to give them a general background in folk music.
“The children’s passion greatly encourages us. I miss them very much whenever I’m too busy to come to class. We want to pass on to them the folk songs of the Quang region. Many of them are promising students and have won top prizes at municipal-level singing competitions,” said Ms. Hue.
She said at first the participants were children from local primary schools. Children singing and and tapping the beat quickly attract the attention of tourists and other passers-by.
Truong Thi Huong, a Hoi An resident, told VOV why she attends the class: “I discovered the folk song class while visiting the old quarter of Hoi An. In the day time I’m busy working, but I try to attend the class at night to learn traditional folk tunes. I learn quickly because I like it so much.”
Ha Phuong Hien, from Ho Chi Minh City, visited Hoi An on a business trip, and now drops in on the class quite regularly.
“I found the class by chance when I took a walk in Hoi An. I’m glad because I love singing folk songs but didn’t know where to learn them. I immediately signed up and now attend the class regularly. The teachers are enthusiastic,” said Hien.