Monday, May 7, 2012

Korea and Music

Confucius gave music a prominent place in the field of study. Koreans within this culture have shown a  great love for music and many have been blessed with talent. There were times when some parents were not happy when their children played a musical instrument because of the pressure of studies, but that has changed. Today we have many famous Korean musicians on the world stage.

“To educate somebody, you should start with poems, go on to ceremonies, and finish with music.” These are the words of Confucius that are often heard. He considered music, after ceremonies, a very important part of life. Koreans have shown this in the easy way they take to music. They sing with ease and do it in their daily life, in the fields and in their fishing boats. They  enjoy watching and listening to  any type of musical program.

The Catholic Times has an article on seven priests from Incheon, who from the time they were in the seminary enjoyed coming together to play their instruments: guitar, drum, piano, clarinet, cello. They are now priests with different pastoral obligations but they still have the same love for music.

They will have a concert this month which will be called "Different But the Same," appropriately named since each of them will be playing their different instruments, while presenting a unified harmony.  A disk of their music was made when they were in the seminary.

Music, they say, helps them to feel the presence of God. They received the support of the seminary and now meet once a week for practice. They are all busy in their different pastoral works but have not been able to set aside their passion for music, wanting others to enjoy the music as much as they do. 

Music is one of the best ways to open up our hearts, one of the young priests said. This love for music is seen even in mission stations when the Christians get together for a big feast or a celebration, with individuals standing up before the group singing favorite songs. The Karaoke craze is not as popular as it was a few years ago, but Norebangs, which is the Korean word for 'rooms for song,' are still seen in many parts of Korea: a visible sign of the place of music in Korean society.

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