It hasn’t hit on me yet that my sophomore year of high school has come to an end. As soon as school ended, I headed back to Seoul for summer. This summer will be significant to my high school career; I have been planning on various activities to pursue my passion in a myriad of fields that all boil down to my main concern in the lack of appreciation of traditional values and cultures in Korea. Ever since I first started to play the Haegum (해금, Korean traditional musical instrument) and learn Minhwa (민화, Korean traditional folk art), I have realized that modern society is continuously diminishing the values of traditions. It is common to see that KPOP is replacing the very traditional form of Korean folk songs, and a rather vulgar form of art is taking over the places of historic, archaic genres of art. I do not want to be heard as I’m wholeheartedly against the advent of new creative forms of cultures, but I still deem it as a serious issue that modern men no longer identify themselves with the original aspects of cultures that have essentially been the foundation of our society and are often easily denouncing the roots of our cultures. Throughout my three months back in Korea, I’m trying to be involved in a variety of activities to learn what the real challenge is to sustain the development of traditional arts and what I should address to resolve such issues.
One of my projects is to work as a museum docent at the National Gugak Center. This week, I was officially appointed as one of the six high school tour guides at the National Museum of Traditional Music. This museum is the one of the two national Gugak museum that holds about 6000 pieces of Gugak related materials such as the Gayagum, Haegum, and Daegum. I can never be more grateful to be given such an amazing opportunity. With my experiences as a Haegum player actively engaged in orchestras and volunteer music groups and a former student tour guide at national heritages in Seoul, I would be more than glad to introduce the various aspects of Korean traditional music and show how traditional forms of arts can create a harmony with modern arts.
Want to take a look at the National Gugak Center? Take a look at this video!