A teacher trains schoolgirls to perform oungum ensemble.
Wasan Technical Senior Middle School in Sosong District, Pyongyang, is noted for playing well oungum, four-stringed Korean instrument.
“Oungum is one of the new national string instruments, which was made to meet the aesthetic sense of the times, while preserving well the character of timbre peculiar to national instruments of Korea in 1962. We have long put efforts into teaching how to play oungum in order to implant national sentiment into the hearts of coming generations and inherit and develop national music,” said Pak Son Hui, teacher of the artistic group.
The sound box of oungum is in the shape of bottle gourd and the decoration of head looks like a rod-like hairpin, which was favoured by the Korean women, stuck in hair.
Its timbre is clear and soft and any kinds of melodies can be played by applying tremolo and thrumming.
The national instrument is used to play solo, ensemble, concert, and solo and ensemble.
The school helps students have a deep understanding of the musical instrument, keep a correct playing posture and perform it while preserving the tone and sound peculiar to the instrument.
It also encourages students to enrich their artistry as players of the national instrument through constant practices and channels efforts into the education in vocal music so that they can flawlessly play even solo and ensemble.
The school made its debut in the artistic festival of schoolchildren throughout the country in 2000 with an ensemble of oungum and won high appraisal. The school has so far dominated the competition and taken part in the New Year’s performance of schoolchildren every year since some years ago.
Many members of the group who finished the school enrolled at Pyongyang Kim Won Gyun University of Music and Pyongyang Teachers Training College thanks to their high artistry and some of them are active as players of national instruments at different art troupes.
“The number of students who want to learn how to play national instruments is on the increase from year to year. We’ll continue to carry on the tradition of our school by promoting the education in national instruments,” said Pak Son Hui.