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Laos: National School of Music and Dance

Ban Phonpapao, Muang Sisatthanak, Vientiane, Laos
Route Luang Prabang Vientiane Vientiane Prefecture LA
856 (0) 21 312172856 (0) 21 312172
856 (0) 20 770 5243856 (0) 20 770 5243
856 (0) 21 212401, 856 (0) 21 212408

About this school : The National School of Music and Dance was established in 1959 under the Ministry of Education, Sport and Religious Affairs of the Royal Lao Government. It opened in 1962 under the direction of composer Khou Ouane Soutthamma in a large wooden structure located next door to the National School of Fine Arts at Ban Anou in central Vientiane, where it initially offered a four-year programme of study in traditional classical and folk performance. In 1970 a rival School of Music and Dance was set up by the Pathet Lao at Samneua in Houaphanh Province. After 1975 these two institutions were amalgamated to create an expanded National School of Music and Dance in Vientiane. In 1990 the School moved from its original premises to Ban Phonpapao campus in western Vientiane; the National School of Fine Arts (now the National Faculty of Fine Arts) was also relocated here in 1998. There are plans to rename the School as the National Faculty of Music and Dance, in anticipation of the proposed establishment of a University of Arts at the Ban Phonpapao campus in 2005-6. That University will eventually comprise three Faculties – the Faculty of Music and Dance, the Faculty of Fine Arts and the Faculty of Mass Media (currently the National Mass Media Training Centre at Ban Simuang in central Vientiane). However, while the adjacent National Faculty of Fine Arts has already been renamed, this institution continues at present to use its existing name, National School of Music and Dance. At the present time the School offers secondary (four-year) programmes and intermediate (three-year) programmes, the latter leading to the award of a Certificate. The four main areas of the teaching syllabus are as follows: (i) Traditional Music (traditional classical music instruments such as gongs and strings, plus traditional folkloric instruments such as khene, takhe, kachapi, khong wong); (ii) Modern Music (piano/keyboard, violin, accordion, trombone, trumpet, saxophone, clarinet, flute, guitar, bass, drums); (iii) Dance (basic movement, classical dance, folkloric dance, ethnic minority dance); and (iv) Singing (lam/khap or traditional songs, modern songs). Lam luang is not taught at the School. A general school curriculum is also offered, comprising Mathematics, Geography, History, English, Politics and Moral and Upright Living. Following the establishment of the University of Arts, it is planned that the Faculty of Music and Dance will offer both the three-year intermediate-level programme and a new four-year Diploma programme in Music and Dance. The existing secondary (four year) programmes will be discontinued in Vientiane and transferred instead to two new Schools of Music and Dance which are to be set up in Luang Prabang and Savannakhet respectively. However, problems of inadequate budget, lack of skilled personnel and lack of equipment must first be resolved before this development can take place. The School currently has 60 teachers, 12 of whom have degrees. At the time of writing student enrolment totals 215, comprising 145 secondary students, 59 intermediate students and an additional 11 individuals taking a preparatory singing course. The average ages of students taking these courses is 11-13 for the secondary course and 14-16 for the intermediate Certificate course. Students from the provinces, who reside in the dormitory on site, are funded by their provincial governments and are thus required to return home after graduation to work in local government troupes, while students from Vientiane who live at home are free to find their own work on graduation, in the capital’s restaurants, hotels and night clubs. As with the adjacent National Faculty of Fine Arts, the best students are invited to become teachers of the School. To date the absence of language skills amongst teaching staff and the lack of modern communication tools (fax, E-mail) at the School have seriously hindered its capacity to participate in international exchange activity. However, resident foreign missions occasionally organise performances and/or workshops by visiting artists. Pianist John Ferguson, Artistic Director of the non-profit organisation American Voices which brings American music to foreign countries around the globe, has also visited the National School of Music and Dance twice, giving concerts and workshops for students and donating music text books to the school.

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PO BOX 3180 Phonesavanh Road Saphanthong Tai Village Sisattanak District Vientiane Lao PDR 0 km
+856 21 486001+856 21 486001
+856 20 2222 9360+856 20 2222 9360
+856 21 486009
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+856 21 740098+856 21 740098
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(+856 21) 261 614-5(+856 21) 261 614-5
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Lao - Thai Friendship Road. Watnak Village Vientiane Lao PDR 0 km
(+856 21) 313 718(+856 21) 313 718
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