Korean Music Classes: Introducing the Gayageum

2014 update: New Gayageum classes have been announced for February to March 2014! Find out more here.

If you’re a musician or artistic, how about learning one of Korea’s most famous instruments, the Gayageum? The Korean Cultural Centre is really expanding and spoiling us with their courses this year with all these exciting new lessons focused on traditional Korean culture. Like the Minhwa painting course, this will be a FREE 10 week course taking place between the 17th April and the 19th June 2013 where you will be introduced to the Gayageum. Please note that although this is a course for beginners, students are expected to have a basic knowledge of reading music!

The Gayageum is an iconic 12 string zither which was said to have been made by the King of the Gaya Kingdom, hence it’s name Gaya-geum, “geum” being a sino-Korean word for a stringed instrument. But much evidence has since been revealed during archaeological excavations to reveal that the existence of this instrument can be traced further back in history. Not to be mistaken for it’s cousin, the Geomungo which also part of the zither family but with only 6 strings and plucked with a bamboo pick, the silken strings of the Gayageum are plucked with the right hand whilst the left hand is used to vibrate the strings near the moveable wooden bridges to create the signature delicate sound of the zither. It is said that the Gayageum’s tone is more like the human voice than any other instrument.

Image credit to KoreanFilm.co

Image credit to KoreanFilm.ro

Check out this video to see the Gayageum being played by musician Jung Ji-eun, who will be teaching these classes. You can really hear how atmospheric and evocative its tones are, and the sounds are very unique and haunting to listen to. To find out more about the musician Jung Ji-eun, who plays and teaches around the UK and in London, visit this site, Kaya Music.


The zither is a iconic instrument of East Asia and this will be an excellent chance for you to learn more about this elegant instrument. During this 10 week course, students will be taught the history and story of the famous Gayageum, learn typical musical scales and various playing techniques and by the end of the course, students should be able to play a selection of famous Korean pieces! *fingers crossed*

Image credit to KoreaFilm.co

Image credit to KoreaFilm.co

This is a very first for the KCC UK, we don’t think theres been any other music course like it and it’s all for FREE! So to all budding musicians out there, don’t miss your chance. This is a very unique chance to get to grips with an instrument not seen much in the UK and to learn from some experts in the field. The course will run from 17th April 2013 to 19th June 2013 (10 weeks) and lessons will be from 6pm to 7pm. Please note you need to be over the age of 18 to apply for this course with a basic understanding of music reading.

To apply simply fill in a application form which can be found at the bottom of the KCC’s webpage and send it to info@kccuk.org.uk or hand it in at the Korean Cultural Centre before 5pm on 6th April 2013. Please note there are only 10 spaces and participants will be drawn at random.

Sources: KCC UK , Henrik Choi blog , cylee624 , The National Center for Korean Traditional Performing Arts


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