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Recent Graduate Impacts Nepalese Music Education

Oct. 6, 2010

In his 10 months in Nepal, Robert Moore, BMED '09, played a large role in establishing the first professional society for music teachers in Nepal, the Nepal Music Educators' Society (NMES); wrote a music curriculum; and wrote a method book for the madal, the Nepali national folk drum.

"The government in Nepal doesn't support music education to any practical extent," said Moore, a Fulbright scholarship recipient who spent most of his time in Kathmandu. "Many music teachers there are trained as performers and teach only because it is a job. They have nowhere to go to learn things like lesson planning, rehearsing, music notation, curriculum, classroom management and performance organization."

Sumit Pokhrel is just one of the Nepali music teachers who has benefited from Moore's work. When the opportunity arose for Pokhrel to attend the International Society for Music Education (ISME) conference in Beijing, Moore nominated him. When Pokhrel was unable to fully fund his trip, Moore sold copies of his madal method book to Baylor professors to raise the money to send Pokhrel to the conference.

"The professors I asked were ones I had a relationship with and ones who were instrumental in helping me apply for the Fulbright," said Moore in a July interview.

"During the ISME conference, I look forward to meeting well-experienced music educators with whom I expect to exchange ideas and widen my knowledge of the field to bring new changes in the current music conditions in Nepal," said Pokhrel, who has taught music for 20 years. He is thankful for Moore and his work in Nepal.

"I take it as a blessing in disguise that he has helped me believe in myself and open my heart to music even more," Pokhrel said.

"Being in Nepal gave me a really broad look at music education," Moore said. "I was able to see some of the problems facing music education in Third World countries, and hopefully one day I can address those."

To Moore, music plays a critical role in education and society.

"In many ways, music teaches culture. I also think important values, like leadership and dedication, are taught through music. Music is also a fun way to keep students interested in something constructive. Music is just a good way to communicate. When I play my clarinet, musicians from all over the world understand me, no matter what language I speak."

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