DEPARTMENT OF TRADITIONAL JAPANESE MUSIC
The study of traditional Japanese music at the university dates back to the Ongaku Torishirabegakari (Music Investigation Committee) established in 1879. Study of traditional Japanese music has been ongoing at the Tokyo Music School since its establishment in 1887. The Department of Traditional Japanese Music was first established in 1936, the 49th anniversary of the school's founding.
In a controversy marked by strong opinions, the university considered abolishing the Department of Traditional Japanese Music during the transition to the new university structure. The decision to keep the Department of Traditional Japanese Music was made the year after the founding of the Faculty of Music, and the department was then and continues to be the only such department at any arts college in Japan.
The Department of Traditional Japanese Music trains gifted students through research and classes on practical techniques and performance theory. Classes focus on shamisen music (nagauta, tokiwazu, and kiyomoto), Hogaku Hayashi (accompaniments to traditional Japanese music), Japanese dance, Sokyoku (koto), shakuhachi, Nogaku, Nogaku Hayashi, and Gagaku (Japanese ancient court music).
In addition to practical techniques, students in each program of study enroll in required and elective classes that teach practical techniques in various types of traditional Japanese music, Western music, solfege, and other topics. Students are also required to attend classes in performance theory and related subjects (including Western music theory), in addition to practical techniques. In this way, the curriculum trains performers and future music professionals in a broad range of musical knowledge.
Following graduation, many students go on to become active in the front lines of various musical fields, as performers, instructors, or educators. Graduates also advance to graduate school to pursue a more focused and advanced study of practical performance techniques and performance theory.
Students intending to earn teaching credentials must prepare for a campus selection exam of piano performance skills, administered immediately following admission.
Educational and research structure
As the only department of traditional Japanese music at a national university in Japan, the department views its mission as the study of the classics in each genre and the provision of practical guidance and training in performance theory, as well as the expansion and deepening of student knowledge and experience over a wide range of music, including Western music. The goal is to impart general music capabilities and music theory in a systematic manner and to train outstanding performers and educators.
Curriculum (undergraduate education)
The department seeks to provide undergraduates with more in-depth techniques and knowledge by identifying major and minor practical techniques for each program. This is done through individual lessons on practical techniques, general practice in the form of recitals, general university recitals, and public graduation recitals. To improve basic student skills across a broad range of music, the department also teaches students the ability to grasp and work with diversifying musical genres by incorporating study of Western music solfege.
Curriculum (graduate education and research)
The goals of the master's program curriculum are to impart more advanced performance techniques; raise the level of basic academic research skills needed to prepare the master's thesis; and provide students with the skills needed to study music at advanced levels. In addition, through accompaniment and supporting performances in each recital, students build the foundations for active careers as performers. The master's degree exam assesses students for proficiency in practical performance techniques. The exam also includes an oral component on student thesis work.
Students in the doctoral program handle all aspects of the annual doctoral recital on their own - from planning to management and performance - as each student plans and presents a recital on themes tailored to his or her specific research goals. The doctoral degree exam evaluates student proficiency in recital performance. The exam also includes an oral exam component on student thesis work.
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