skip to navigation skip to contents
School of Korean Traditional Arts
The School of Korean Traditional Arts is a higher education institute dedicated to nurturing experts capable of adjusting to today’s traditional music scene through academic study of traditional performing arts, with a strong focus on instruments, song and dance to maximize performance ability. The School is a place in which broad insights and fierce artistic spirit are naturally transferred to the students beyond the limitations of conventional apprentice-based art education with simple technical repetitions.
Indeed, the School is oriented around education that inherits and then reinvents the tradition based on the spirit of “learning the new by reviewing the old” to harmonize tradition with creation. It deserves to be called its popular title of “repository for content prototypes” by initiating performing arts in Korea and providing the prototypes for other Schools. The School of Korean Traditional Arts is dedicated to good faith interaction with other Schools to create new performance styles. It is proud to take the initiative to create 21st-Century Korean arts education by developing collaborative projects with each School.
  • The School of Korean Traditional Arts encompasses the following Departments: Department of Korean Traditional Arts Theory, established for the systematic organization, aesthetic definition and future prospects of traditional performing arts; Department of Korean Traditional Music, which is divided into Instrumental Music and Vocal Music majors; Department of Korean Traditional Dance that seeks new vistas in Korean dance rooted in traditional dances, such as court dance and folk dance; Department of Traditional Dramatic Performing Arts that comprehensively trains students in dramatic performing arts, such as talchum (mask dance), pungmul and shamanistic dance; and Department of Korean Traditional Music Composition, which was established to expand and develop the repertoire of future Korean music.
    The eternal foundation of traditional arts education is a thorough “training of the physical body.” The School is proud to feature outstanding performances and productions as ways for students to engage with and gain actual on-stage experience. With the opportunity to hold joint performances with professors and present their productions every semester, students can gain and learn from stage experience. Moreover, as music, dance and performing arts are all offered within the same School, it is easier for students to collaborate. As such, the School is designed to provide education that combines instruments, song and dance, which are the sources of the traditional arts.
  • Department

    Korean Traditional Music

    he educational goal of the Department of Korean Traditional Music is to cultivate students’ performance and creative capability so that they can not only carry on the practice of traditional music, but also reinterpret it to meet the challenges of the 21st Century. Based on a solid grounding in traditional music, students develop new performance techniques and expand their repertoires. This helps them maximize their performance and creative capability and ultimately attain musical independence with a high level of artistic ability.

    Specialized education and practical coursebased curriculum by major — The Department of Korean Traditional Music offers majors in Instrumental Music, Vocal Music, and Composition. The Instrumental Music major is divided into study of the gayageum, geomungo, daegeum, piri,haegeum, ajaeng and percussion instruments. The Vocal Music major is divided into study of pansori, minyo, gayageum byeongchang and jeongga. Students receive one-to-one tuition from two prominent instructors in the field each semester over the four years of the program. They also acquire all the techniques and artistry demanded by traditional music through participation in various performances every year, including traditional music and orchestral ensembles. The Vocal Music major trains students to become outstanding performers in new kinds of theatrical music by going beyond the boundaries of different genres. The Composition major fosters the students’ ability to expand the scope of traditional music from classical music to dance, theatrical, background and applied music. Various annual recitals and concerts of each major are offered in addition to regular class as a way to foster professional performers, allowing students to gain on-stage experience. Students improve their abilities by practicing all night to prepare for their recitals. They are also required to hold solo recitals for graduation to take their performance to a professional level.
    Nurturing creativity based on a strong foundation — Along with practical courses, students take courses that cultivate knowledge of the humanities befitting college students. Freshmen and sophomores take core courses in the traditional arts, such as Introduction to Traditional Music and History of Korean Music, as well as required courses in the School’s cooperative program, such as English, classical Chinese, logical writing and communication skills.
    In addition, courses such as Criticism & Appreciation of Performing Arts and Traditional Performing Arts Media & Contents help students develop their critical eye about art and understand the contents of traditional arts in order to communicate with the present day. It fosters the students’ ability to create new forms of arts, beyond simply imitating and preserving the arts of the past.
    Faculty View

    Korean Traditional Arts Theory

    The primary educational objective of Korean Traditional Arts Theory is the academic research of traditional performing arts, such as traditional music, dance, and dramatic performing arts. The Department provides a future direction for Korean arts through historical, philosophical and aesthetic definition of traditional arts. The guiding principle is to establish a theoretical foundation for the creation of new types of performing arts based on theories that reinterpret traditions from a contemporary perspective.

    Programs that foster a global perspective — General courses are designed to be closely related to the theoretical and cooperative programs of other Schools for a solid academic foundation. For freshman and sophomore years, there are various courses available on foreign languages, critical thinking skills, leading art theories and the practice of traditional arts. These courses are accompanied by comparative art studies of Korea and other countries based on art research methodologies as part of a humanities-based pedagogical approach. The curriculum is not bound to traditional arts; rather, it offers open classes for students to interact with other genres of art, broaden their artistic perspective, and develop objectivity to accurately determine the status of traditional arts within contemporary society. Moreover, students are able to develop the insight required to view and develop Korean Traditional Arts from a global perspective.
    Intensive and rigorous curriculum for major — Students receive intensive training on the selected majors in junior and senior years. Students whose majors in various fields have been decided are each assigned to experts in the field for one-to-one personal training. Most majors are divided into the history of individual genres, systematology, or applied arts such as planning and cultural theories.
    To graduate, students must submit at least one research paper, which is usually presented at an annual academic symposium hosted by the Department of Korean Traditional Arts Theory in October. Students who fail to present a paper are not qualified for graduation.
    Faculty View

    Korean Traditional Dance

    By focusing on practical courses designed to teach the true composition principles and various forms of Korean traditional dance, the Department of Korean Traditional Dance aims to foster leaders of Korean dance capable of addressing contemporary challenges and creatively interpreting the tradition for the next generation.

    Systematic curriculum — The basic courses for freshmen and sophomores consist of core practical courses for dance, as well as courses that cover all genres of traditional dance. By offering courses covering all dance forms, from dances designated as intangible cultural assets to new dances developed since modernization, the curriculum helps students learn about the origin of Korean dance with their body. Accompanied by theoretical courses that help provide a general understanding of Korean dance, the curriculum is designed to nurture artists through both theory and practice.
    Dance Choreography, Analysis on Dance Artworks, and Aesthetics of Korean Dance courses in the junior year enhance students’ ability to analyze and have a critical eye for dance. Courses on reinvention and the practice of tradition are offered to empower students to become the future leaders of Korean dance. In the senior year prior to graduation, students undergo the process of reviewing what they have learned and incorporating it into their works. They are required to present a form of traditional dance, such as folk and court dance, choreograph new dance steps on their own and then perform them at the graduation show, which is a mandatory requirement for graduation.
    Intense training — The Department of Korean Traditional Dance has many required courses,which is a result of reflecting the characteristic feature of traditional dance: namely, its collectivity. The advantage this has from an educational standpoint is that it prevents students from becoming idle in their college years. Classes require complete attendance and dance performances on a regular basis to help students devote most of their time to dance. This rigorous training enables students to acquire the ability as masters in the field. Frequent recitals and performances also help them gain on-stage experience, and reinvention training fosters their ability to express their emotions. This is why there is a need for intense training to meet the requirements of art led by the physical body.
    Faculty View

    Korean Traditional Dramatic Performing Arts

    The primary educational goal of the Department is to restore the essential sensibility of traditional Korean dramatic performing arts by focusing on practical courses, such as pungmul, shamanistic dance, mask dance and performances by professional performing groups, most of which are enjoyed and reflected in the lives of Korean people. The Department aims to creatively inherit tradition by producing new kinds of dramatic performing arts and theatrical performance to contribute to the growth of traditional arts in the future.

    Varied and wide-ranging curriculum — The Department of Traditional Korean Dramatic Performing Arts requires students to take practical courses on pungmul, shamanistic dance, mask dance and performances by professional performing groups for four years in order to gain a thorough grounding in the traditional Korean dramatic performing arts that have been passed down from generation to generation. Such courses are provided regardless of major to help students grow into talented comprehensive artists with access to a varied and wide-ranging spectrum of artistic experience. The varied repertoire defined by local elements for four years not only strengthens students’ practical ability, but also provides various sources for new dramatic performing arts. With comprehensive traditional arts covering musical instruments, song and dance, the Department fosters wellrounded artists who are skilled in traditional arts by providing courses on percussion, traditional vocal music and dance, and melodic instruments such as taepyeongso. Moreover, the Department nurtures true artists capable of balancing theory and practice by offering theoretical courses, such as History of Korean Folklore Performance, Criticism & Appreciation of Performing Arts, and Carnival & Folk.
    Curriculum for the future of traditional dramatic performing arts — The ultimate goal of the Department of Traditional Korean Dramatic Performing Arts is to develop new kinds of dramatic performing arts that communicate with the present time, rather than settling on the past. To this end, required courses such as Production of Folklore Performance, Fieldwork of Traditional Theatrics, and Practice of Newly Composed Works are provided to guard against merely imitating what has been done in the past. The curriculum enables students to tell stores based on contemporary discourse, while seeking out the materials of the past to create dramatic performing arts that can attract modern people. The four-year program helps students restore their artistic spirit, skillfully perform various traditional performing arts, and explore the fundamental emotions and principles of traditional dramatic performing arts based on a thorough grounding in musical instruments, song and dance.
    Faculty View

    Korean Traditional Music Composition

    The Department of Korean Traditional Music Composition educates students in traditional arts and reinforces educational contents for the future development of Korean culture. With the increasing global spotlight on the Korean wave through high-class Korean traditional culture, Korean music composition has an unprecedented opportunity to strengthen its global foothold through refining its competitive edge. The field of composition that forms the basis of traditional cultural contents demands a more specialized and reinforced program to nurture composers who can carry the traditions to a global audience. To this end, there is a need for more diversified and detailed curriculum contents designed to teach composition. Moreover, it is necessary to implement a specialized curriculum that can encompass various sub-majors, such as the composition of creative music, dramatic music, film music, computer music and conducting. The Department of Korean Traditional Music Composition had been a part of the Composition major in the Department of Korean Traditional Music, but it has been opened as a new Department since the second semester of 2013. We look forward to seeing the graduates of the Department play a key role in understanding and imparting the values of traditional arts across the Korean music world.
    Faculty View