Launched in 2003, the Master-Apprentice (Ustod-Shogird) Music Training Programme offers group lessons to 550 students taught by 27 master musicians, and is based in Kabul and Herat.
The training programme exemplifies the Aga Khan Trust for Culture’s focus on linking the revitalisation of intangible and tangible cultural heritage: in both Kabul and Herat, music instruction and regular concerts take place in historic buildings that are part of sites conserved and rehabilitated by the Trust’s Historic Cities Programme. Students may study a variety of local instruments—rubab, tanbur, dutar, tabla, dilruba, and others—as well as singing. Many graduates have gone on to become prominent performers in Afghanistan’s music scene. While initial enrollment in the training programme was all male, efforts have been made to identify female students. Young women are now enrolled in different courses, with the expectation that female graduates of the programme will, in time, contribute to the continuation of a rich Afghan tradition of music making by and for women.