Master classes in traditional music ensemble were taught to various music students and enthusiasts on July 15 to 19, 2013 held at the University of Santo Tomas (UST)-Conservatory of Music. This is a project of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts’ (NCCA) through the guidance of the Philippine Society for Music Education.
The music of Kalinga and Maguindao gongs and bamboo were brought in Manila and were particularly the key lessons during the five-day training. Alongside with it, lectures on Philippine traditional music ensemble were featured.
According to the organizers, the Philippines has a very rich musical heritage and is very diverse—just like its neighbor in Southeast Asia because of its geographic location and its history of Western colonization. They also added that in the present time, the Asiatic music traditions are still practiced in the highlands of the Cordilleras and Mindanao.
However, the influence of the West and the European music such as folk songs, kundiman, religious rituals, pop and symphonies, among others, are widely practiced in rural and urban areas of the country.
“There is an urgent need for performers of Philippine indigenous instrumental ensembles to be trained further by master musician-teachers. Because of the Western orientation of our educational system in music schools and conservatories, there are very few proficient players of traditional music instruments,” the organizers said.
The project director of this program is Professor Letty del Valle.