DILIJAN, Armenia — Students at the State Art College of Dilijan are ringing in the New Year with music, and with brand new instruments, thanks to the initiative of the Foundation for Armenian Relief (FAR). FAR, established in 1988 as a relief effort after the earthquake, has continued to raise funds for economic, social and educational programs in Armenia and cooperates with other foundations on specific projects. One of them focuses on music education.
The State Art College of Dilijan is a special institution that plays a unique role in the musical education of Armenia, as it is the only one that trains teachers of music. Established in 1997, it is an outgrowth of the Dilijan Musical School, which had been operating since 1945. Over the past two decades, the College has become the cradle of musical education in the entire marz (province) of Tavush (in the northeastern part of Armenia) and coordinates 15 music schools there.
The college provides two levels of musical education, the first comprising a seven-year curriculum for students attending classes after their regular school, and the second consisting of a four-year vocational curriculum, open to the graduates of the seven-year program and others. It is these students who go on to become teachers themselves and develop careers in music schools throughout the nation.
Both in the first and second levels, the curriculum offers instruction in vocal and instrumental music, winds, piano, string and national instruments. The college has a choir, and ensembles for wind and traditional national instruments. Currently there are 178 pupils in the first level and 63 students in the second level.
The College students take part in contests, festivals and competitions. The ensembles and the choir are frequently invited to perform at diverse celebrations in Dilijan, the marz and beyond. Since the College functions as the coordinator of the marz music schools, it frequently hosts master classes by prominent musicians from Yerevan and thus ensures continuing education to teachers from all the music schools in the marz. It also hosts concerts at the College for all official, international delegations, guests of Dilijan and/or the marz. Its dedicated and professional staff have earned the respect and gratitude of the entire community.
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