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Astana, Kazakhstan • 23 August, 2022 | 10:51
3 min read

Nur-Sultan Students Attempt to Set a Guinness World Record

Students at NIS participated in the largest dombyra lesson ever

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At the Intellectual School of Physics and Mathematics in Nur-Sultan, the school year ended with a major, highly-anticipated event - a dombyra lesson, which is planned to enter the Guinness Book of Records as an online record for "The Largest Dombyra Lesson". For the event, more than 1,000 students played on the dombyra simultaneously.

Soul of the people

Aitzhan Toktagan, a teacher of additional education and a honored worker of culture of the Republic of Kazakhstan, conducted the big-scale dombra lesson. The students performed famous kuys, such as "Saryarka", "Balbyrauyn", "Yerkem-ai", "Kenes", and "Zhastar bii".

Students of the Intellectual School of Physics and Mathematics represented our country and our culture to the world and introduced them to our traditional musical instrument, which can be considered the soul of the people. We all know very well that the dombyra is the 'true Kazakh', so today can be called historic. 

Kulyash Shamshidinova, chairwoman of the board of the Nazarbayev Intellectual Schools JSC

In 2016, the school introduced dombyra as an elective course. Since then, the school ensemble "Zhiger" created by Aitzhan Toktagan has won many national and international music competitions, including the Grand Prix of the Italian festival "Sun of Italy", and performed on the stages of famous universities in the United States, like Harvard University, Boston University, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The dombyra is a sacred instrument for every Kazakh, and the inclusion of our lesson in the Guinness Book is the opening of the dombyra to the world.

Aitzhan Toktagan, head of the school ensemble "Zhiger"

Systematic work on cultivating interest in the dombyra and national music is carried out in line with the values and mission of the NIS program, which is to preserve and promote national values and traditions through holistic education.

Going down in the books

The application to Guinness World Records (GWR) was submitted in December 2021. As required by Guinness World Records, more than 25 supervisors and two witnesses monitored the large class. There was one independent supervisor for every group of 50 participants who was prepared to disqualify anyone who left the recording area or failed to perform the required action. The supervisors acted as a proxy for GWR, controlling the record-setting process and ensuring absolute compliance with all the criteria of the Book.

Before the start of the lesson, all participants registered at two points: in the first, they scanned their badges and checked in through the "Candidate-Marker" program; in the second, the duty officer conducted a mechanical count of the participants.

I became friends with the dombyra after entering NIS. When we were on distance learning during the pandemic, I took video lessons. Today is a special day for us. Of course, we were all very nervous, but now we're happy that we played for the Guinness Book and that our record will be dedicated to the dombyra. 

Yerasyl Aibekuly, 9th grade student

The dombyra lesson at NIS is the only time in the world when more than 1,000 students from one school played the national instrument. 

A similar achievement has been recorded in the Guinness World Records book before in Malaysia in 2019. 2869 primary school students aged 7-12 participated in what was the largest music lesson where they learned how to play a rendition of "Baby Shark" on the ukulele.  

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