Class of Initiation into the Vietnamese Music

Olympiads Centre – 13th Paris


The school year 2000-2001 in the Space Olympiads of Municipal Committee of Social Action Paris XIII possesses henceforth a music class for the 2-year-old children and half in 8 years. It is my wish for many years. Because in the educational subject of the children, the childhood is an essential period. If the children are educated from the childhood, this spirit will be a fundamental base for them later.

In the music of the people, if we want to pass on it, if we want that our children continue the tradition of the popular music, they must be educated in the love of the people.

Here, country of the freedom, there are too much means, conditions to amuse, to cultivate his knowledge, so the children will have "undergone" several learning, if the parents know how to choose them and feel the weight of them, their children will not too much have difficulty in learning.

The class of initiation into the traditional music begins at 3:00 pm till 5:30 pm every Wednesday in the afternoon. At the moment it includes :

                     5 children from 2-year-old and a half until 5 years old

                     5 children from 6 to 8 years old

Except it, there are 4 children from 9 years old to 10 years old which also participate in the activities.

The program of the class includes: the hour of the music, the hour of the singing, the hour of the Vietnamese writing and the hour of the activities, and naturally also the hour of the snack which cannot miss in this age group.

At the time of the music, the children make the learning fundamental on the “đàn tranh”, the percussions. The children from 3 to 4 years old, not knowing how to still either read or write, they get acquainted with the sound of the instrument, with the musical notes, with the heights of the singing, before learning to write. They know where is situated the first note G on the instrument, and they were able to play the low extent of the notes of “đàn tranh” in a very easy way.

At the time of the song, the children make the learning of the songs which concerned with the music of “đàn tranh”, so, they will make the learning of the music on the instrument in a easier and faster way, because they already know the songs.

Next to the fundamental pieces of music of “đàn tranh”, there are fragments of song for children, whose words evoke the patriotism, as the words of the advices since thousands of years which are sung to us through the lullaby of our moms, our sisters during our own childhood.

At the time of the activities, the children enjoy themselves under the supervision of Minh Hiền, Thanh Trúc who are scout leaders experimented, so, the children were able to learn the spirit of the scouting with games of spirit of group, love, mutual help.

The hour of the snack is the hour for which wait the children, prepared by their moms. They were able to be divided a cake, a candy, each has his, so, they were able to feast to enjoy. Especially that having eaten, the children learnt to clear and to make clean the room and continue to get ready for the other necessary activities…

I noticed that previously, Phượng Ca has already received the children in learning, but each is taught part, then there is no atmosphere so joyful as this class in common. The children drag to come to the courses, because they misses friends with whom to play, with whom to speak. Since it is allowed to meet each other, the atmosphere completely changed, the children like learning some music, they like seeing again each other every on Wednesday afternoon. After the hour of the classe, they become attached and do not want to leave…

Every hour has its peculiarity, for example at the time of the music, the children make the effort to play “đàn tranh” more harmoniously, more just, listening to each other playing by waiting for his turn.  At the time of the song, they fight to be able to sing the first one to every demand of the professor. At the time of the recreation, they enjoy themselves and liven up all together. At the end of the class everybody is satisfied relaxed to bring in and give itself meeting in next Wednesday.

The class of initiation into the traditional music is only opened since this school year, but the children already have the occasion to participate in the program “Week of Asia Year 2000 at Antony” in November, in the open day by the Association of “The Children of the Red Sun” at Vincennes in December and they get ready to go to the library Jean Marie Melville in 13th Paris in January 2001 to present a program to the children of the district.

For the success or not of the class, it is necessary to see towards the young moms of Phượng Ca. In every presence of their children in the courses, they are also present. Except for the hour of music where only the children are authorized, they are there at the other hours, to sing, to make activities, to take the snack with their children. So, children have the feeling by coming to the courses that their moms are closer of them in their side.

The presence of the moms is the mainspring for the confidence of the children, for their tranquillity without to be afraid when they play the music next to the professor. From time to time, they glance towards them to see if they sing with them. Those who forget to sing, their children are to be called back them already there….

This class of initiation answered my wishes to protect and to spread the traditional music. There is around ten years of it, when the first ones ‘phoenix’ managed at the age to start a family, to have children, I already bent over this problem, but to foresee is a thing, to be able to realize it is the other one. These children of Phượng Ca are now 7, 8, 10, 13 years old. I missed an occasion to teach the popular music to the own children of ‘phoenix’.

Phượng Ca did not manage to educate its own children in mind of the love of the people, then why to think of creating a class of initiation for the other children. I thought how I was not able to create a traditional musical environment to the own children of those who collaborated with me???.

This reflection has to have an answer: the cause, it is because ‘phoenix’ practise some music, some traditional singing, but their husbands or wives are not however of the same environment, the same ideal as them. Without having the same aspiration, it is very difficult for these couples to pursue the works of Phượng Ca, they will not have enough courage to take their children in class once a week, and wait till the end for the lessons. Besides, ‘phoenix’ do not want that their husband or wife are sad, and for the tranquillity of their family they have to sacrifice themselves, that is they have to stop their activities within the group for a moment…five years, or ten years before returning.

Now, the class of initiation is created, the dream became reality. Every Wednesday the afternoons are reserved for the children and for their mom. The mothers and the children learn to play the music together, the first lessons of the class 1 with the use of the index, the major, with the notes G, A, C so simple, the first pieces of music of the class “đàn tranh”, the words of the piece “Thu Hồ”, that the moms sing, children sing, because if the moms know how to sing, so they can learn to their children to sing every day:


Công sách đèn chày ngày rạng danh
Nhọc rồi mới đến hồi thảnh thơi,
Ân đức thầy nhiều ngày dạy khuyên
Lại còn tốn cơm áo mẹ cha….

Or the words of the piece “Thiên bất Túc” :

Sáo bay sáo nhảy,
Sáo lại chuyền cành
Sáo lại ca hót,
Liu lo ó o rộn ràng
Cho lòng em vui
Cho trí em thảnh thơi….

The singings resound hardly, all the center Olympiads hears them. Inciting Thierry the person in charge of the center to come to see with pleasures the class, every time the hour of the singing comes, up to listen to and to want to sing with big eyes opened until enjoyment.

Since this music class for children exists, every noon of Wednesday, center liven up with enjoyment, and all afternoon long, we do not listen more than the laughter, the singings of the Vietnamese children bursting, I think, in spite of the noises, since they please the people in charge of the center because the children brought us their breath of life, their youth.

And when we think in the future of the traditional music, we have the impression to have sowed the seeds of this music in the heart of the children by from today.

Phuong Oanh.

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