For six weeks in July and August of 1993, nine American musicians, educators, and scholars participated in the first annual Summer Institute for Korean Traditional Performing Arts at the Korean Performing Arts Institute in Seoul, Korea. The success of this program was such that it tripled in size for 1994. On a post-1993 institute evaluation completed by the participants there was strong consensus about the need for some kind of modest-goal language module to be incorporated in the class schedule.
For this project, a team consisting of a native English-speaking leader and a native Korean-speaking facilitator undertook the initial design of such a module, including teaching materials and teacher's guide, which was piloted during the 1994 institute. The schedule for the classes was front-loaded, i.e., longer, more highly structured sessions during the first two weeks, tapering off in the final three weeks as the institute progressed and the participants needed to devote increasing amounts of effort to music classes and to private practice. Language class topics were divided into three categories: social customs (including student-teacher interactions and classroom etiquette), general language topics (the history of and introduction to the alphabet, introduction to numbers, the use of a Korean-English dictionary, and pronunciation), and specific language activities (introductions, greetings and leave-takings, time expressions, specialized music and dance vocabulary, and shopping and restaurant vocabulary).