Beginner Raj Nplaim Class (FRIDAYS)
CURRENTLY FREE!!! 5 hours of live class time learning raj nplaim :)
This course is taught almost exclusively in HMong. It is composed of 5 separate classes, designed to get you from zero experience to an intermediate level playing the raj nplaim. This course will mainly cover the five finger style found in northeastern Laos, but will also touch on the seven finger style of northcentral Laos. Upon signing up, you will receive (via email) a link for each class session on Zoom (or other virtual platform). Though not required, I recommended you know how to read and write HMong RPA. This will speed up your learning ten-fold...but also remember that many elders did not read or write, and they played ten-fold better than any of us! So don't let that discourage you. This class will cover: Class Session 1: raj nplaim basics—taking care of the instrument, holding the instrument, beginning to play, etc. You will leave this first class with several different raj recordings and translations for you to listen to in order to get you familiar with the rhythm and flow of HMoob raj tsib nti songs. Class Session 2: the musical structure of the HMong language: linguistic tones vs. musical notes and intervals, and patterns, motifs, and irregularities in HMong music theory. We will discuss how one relies on HMong linguistic and music theory in order to understand the words in HMong music. You will leave this class with simple phrases and songs written out for you to practice as "homework." Class Session 3: reviewing the phrases and songs assigned to you after class 2. We will go over different ways to add ornamentation to music to make it most similar to speech—that is, how to "tshuab kom meej." We will also break down these songs and compare different ways of ornamenting the same phrases. Class Session 4: writing a song to understand the musical and linguistic changes that must happen when composing a raj song. Discuss how creative freedom in HMong musical languages is affected based on the "rules" that govern (HMong) music and language. Class Session 5: closeout to this class series—we will spend this time reviewing what we learned, tying it to HMong music at large, and addressing any lasting questions. All topics and classes are subject to change, but will largely cover the above. Needless to say, five hours will teach you the basics, but it will take hundreds of hours of your own personal time practicing to become a great musician and thousands to become a great HMong musical speaker!