History of Afghan Music Education

Attempts to introduce music education date back to 1924 when the first music school attached to the military college was founded and an effort was made to include music as a subject in the overall curriculum of the secular schools.  In 1934, the music college within the Afghan Army was re-established and taught Western notation and wind instruments by Turkish instructors.  Attempts to establish music education outside of the Army goes back to the establishment of music appreciation classes through the Ministry of Education in 1959 by Austrian musicians.  After their departure in 1974, the classes were converted into a secondary vocational School of Music run by the Government of Afghanistan.  In 1988, this school merged with the School of Fine Arts, and operated until 1992, when civil war consumed Afghanistan.  It was during this unfortunate period that the suppression and even banning of music was implemented.  The traditions of Afghan music were forced to migrate along with the refugees or go ‘underground’ within the houses and proponents who remained inside the country.  After the social-political changes of 2001, the music department within the School of Fine Arts reopened in 2005 with many limitations and existed only by name.