INSIDE KATHMANDU JAZZ CONSERVATORY
Kathmandu Jazz Conservatory, better known simply as KJC, has been a long established institution that has endeavored to elevate the music scene of Nepal. Located in Jhamsikhel, the music school was established by Nirakar Yakthumba, Manoj K.C from 1974 AD and Mariano Abello a versatile player in the jazz and classical idioms in saxophone, flute, clarinet, and oboe from Spain.
Up and running for 9 years, KJC has lived up to its reputation of being one of the best music schools in the country. To provide the proper curriculum KJC has maintained a strong infrastructure and we were taken on a tour of these facilities by Sunita Shakya. Sunita has been looking over the administration for the past 7 years.
KJC HAS BEEN AROUND FOR A VERY LONG TIME NOW. WITH THAT, AS YOU HAVE OBSERVED, HOW IS HE NEPALESE MUSIC SCENE MORPHING?
I look after the management here, I am neither an academician nor a musician; but it doesn’t take an expert to see the tremendous development in Nepal’s music scene. For instance, most of the students who come to us come to pursue their hobbies. But what we seek to do is to hone the talents of the individuals and groom them into proper musicians who learn, practice, and perform. The students who have enrolled with us have benefited from all the opportunities they have received and are doing great in their field. And that is what we’re here for. When we began, we had Mariano and Nirakar as the Directors and they themselves were involved in the teaching faculties. We had initially employed a lot of foreign teachers to properly groom the students. Then after 4 years of establishment, we hired Nepalese teachers who had been our students. We brought them up to be adept enough to teach. Most of our students are now well established teachers who are either with us or in other respectable institutions.
THE STUDENTS WHO COME HERE, DO ALL OF THEM ASPIRE TO BE PROFESSIONALS?
Not all of hem. For instance, we have had students who just want to know how to play Happy Birthday on the guitar. Also, we recently had an individual who wanted to learn to play Bollywood songs on the piano. Our courses are not limited in an exent. We cover a wide area from theory to choir, from strings to history, and anything in between. Anyone can learn what he or she wants and can be what he or she wants. Learning is what we emphasize on; being professional is secondary.
HOW IS HE INFLOW OF HE STUDENTS?
Until the 2015 earthquake, we had a significant boom in the number of our students. But after the earthquake, the number of students was badly affected. However, we are regaining our momentum and people have begun to show interest and enroll into our programs.
WORDS: NIRVEEK PPJ SHAH | PHOTOGRAPHY: PRITAM CHHETRI