The Taedongmun Kindergarten in Central District, Pyongyang, established in Juche 68 (1979), is widely known across the country as one of the kindergartens which have produced many talented children.
The fact that many of artistes who are popular among the people received early musical education there gives a glimpse to the quality of its education.
Buds of Talent
Inborn aptitude for music does not depend only on the physiological conditions like hearing and fingers.
It also depends on the educator’s ability to find children’s potential aptitudes and their efforts to put the parents’ desires into reality.
Only when a teacher finds out whether a child has an inborn musical aptitude and, if any, what can it be, and selects a musical instrument that matches his or her aptitude, can the teacher bring him or her up as a music prodigy–this is a unanimous view of the teachers of this kindergarten.
Owing to their subjective desires, parents often overestimate their children’s abilities.
So, the kindergarten enrols children based on correct standards, while paying close attention to preventing deviations in this process.
A girl, who had nearly changed her major subject owing to her parents’ persistent demand, became a violinist known throughout the country thanks to the teachers’ selfless efforts. This fact shows the abilities of the teachers of this kindergarten to find children’s potential aptitudes.
Teachers of the kindergarten say: In spite of their high practical abilities, teachers cannot gain successes if they fail to find the methods, “languages,” through which to communicate with the children.
They direct efforts to finding many of such “languages” by studying the children’s psychology and individuality during lessons of developing their skills.
They hold various meetings including a workshop of teaching methods; what is particularly important of these meetings is the presentation at departments.
At the presentation held regularly, each teacher presents a “language” according to the children’s age and psychology, like that of teaching difficult renditions in an easy way and turning the training that requires ceaseless repetition into one interested by those who lack tenacity. As they put forward the “languages” they have discovered by combining them with their own playing, the meeting turns out to be very effective.
Ri Hui Song, a teacher, says: Like everything does, methods of musical education are not immutable. In today’s reality, yesterday’s good methods may become outdated. So it is necessary to continuously improve educational methods in keeping with the developing reality and children’s mental faculties.
The kindergarten has produced many children who were highly appreciated in international competitions and national performances by talented children. Among them is the then 8-year-old Yu Pyol Mi, who took the first place and won the special prize at the 56th Schuhmann international piano competition of children in Juche 99 (2010).
In early musical education, a child is taught by three competent teachers for the major subject, hearing and others.
Kim Hyong Ae, head of the Taedongmun Kindergarten, says: In human’s life, childhood is insignificant and is difficult to be remembered in one’s distant future. The period of kindergarten for preschool education is short, but it is an important period that we must not underestimate. In this period, children’s talents should be developed to the maximum. The more efforts teachers make, the more the children develop. As fully-ripen fruits can be gathered on fertile land, the children develop their talents in the socialist educational system which discovers their potential abilities and develops them.
Not only this kindergarten but the Ryomyong Kindergarten in Taesong District, the Mirae Kindergarten in Phyongchon District and several other kindergartens are giving early musical education.