Students learning to play Latvia's traditional 'kokle' online

A new platform, Kokļu mežs, has been set up to offer lessons in Latvia's traditional musical instrument - the kokle - online all over the world, Latvian Television reported July 16.

Several years ago, musician Ansis Jansons began teaching the kokle - an instrument similar to the harp or zither.  He was pleasantly surprised to learn that there were a lot of people in Latvia who wanted to learn how to play. This encouraged him to set up an online platform.

“'Kokļu mežs' is a platform where people from all around the world meet. It's possible to learn inside the studio and anywhere outside,” Jansons said.

He has recorded lessons and tutorials, and twice a week he sends out tasks for his students. They do the tasks and provide feedback on difficulty and what they liked or didn't like.

"Then we know what exactly to send next. As a result, it's almost like an individual class wherever you want it," said Jansons.

By the end of last year, around 400 people were using the platform. The company has just started producing relatively simple and cheap training kokles for students, as bespoke kokles can be very expensive.

“We're going to send one kokle to New Zealand tomorrow, where a girl is going to play,” Jansons said. He has a goal of introducing more and more people in the world to this Latvian musical instrument, which is not known elsewhere. The training platform allows the goal to be achieved – people in Germany, Austria, Sweden, even Japan and New Zealand are currently learning to play the kokle.

If you'd like to hear the unique sound of the kokle yourself, the video clip below will be of interest.

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