To get ready for more in-depth research, our teachers asked us to think of 25 questions we would like to explore. Several of these can probably be answered, at least superficially, through reading, but many will have to be addressed in the field.
1. What is the relationship between the laypeople and the monastics in Bylakuppe?
2. What functions does music assume in the lives of the laypeople?
3. Ditto for monastics?
4. What kind of importance is placed on sacred music by the laypeople?
5. Is there a stigma against folk music/secular music, and does such a thing as secular music even exist?
6. What are some reasons given by the monastics for entering monastic life?
7. What, if any, religious principles undergird the sound and arrangement of sacred music?
8. Do these principles have any bearing on folk or secular music?
9. Do any Tibetan instruments depend on Tibet-specific materials (woods, metals, etc.), and if so, are the materials imported from Tibet or have substitutions been made for South Indian materials?
10. Is sacred music thought to have an effect on those who hear and make it, apart from spiritual nourishment (physical healing, mood change, garnering blessings)?
11. Do most Tibetan youth tend to cherish their culture, or is there a tendency towards sloughing off yesteryear and forgetting about the past? Is there a trend, or is it too individual to say?
12. What is being done to educate youth in traditional Tibetan music and art? What pedagogical methods are used?
13. How is this teaching translating into preservation of culture? Is there a feeling that what it means to be Tibetan is changing?
14. To what extent have preservation efforts invented "Tibetan-ness," and is it even possible to ascertain the extent of invention?
15. How do the elderly feel about new musics?
16. What musics are popular among Tibetan youth?
17. What musics are being performed by Tibetan youth?
18. Are western instruments readily available in the settlements?
19. What are some of the mixtures of music taking place in Bylakuppe? I've heard Tibetan techno, Tibetan soft rock, and Tibetan blues, but is there anything else happening there? Hip-hop, metal, latin, show-tunes a-la bollywood?
20. How does the Tibetan landscape affect music/instrument construction? Is the South Indian physical context problematic?
21. Do laypeople participate in sacred music? If so, how?
22. How do most people obtain music for consumption? Do music stores exist close enough, or is the internet the primary source? What effect, if any, does the internet have on the musical culture in Bylakuppe?
23. Is there any written form of Tibetan music?
24. How is Tibetan music learned by those who want to learn it? Is it learned by ear, or is whatever written form that may exist a primary teaching tool?
25. Is there a traditional order for learning traditional music, or does the teacher determine a course individual to each student?