Could you imagine studying to become an idol at college or university? For students under Howon University’s Department of K-Pop, dropping science for singing is more than just a daydream. And now, the university has debuted seven students at the university as a rookie girl group.
Howon University is a private university in Gunsan, South Korea, known for having one of the highest graduate employment rates in the country. Split into six colleges, Howon University has taught some of the biggest stars in K-Pop, including members of GOT7, Wanna One, VIXX, 2PM, BtoB, and After School.
Perhaps the school’s impressive celebrity alumni list is one of the reasons why Howon University decided to open a Department of K-Pop in 2019.
Students studying under the K-Pop track are taught by current and former idol trainers with the goal of advancing into the K-Pop music industry. Some of the possible careers Howon University lists for graduates include K-Pop idol, vocal trainer, songwriter, idol manager, and A&R professional.
Typically, most idols begin training for their careers long before their college years. Howon University, however, aims to provide a pathway for aspiring stars at a later age. Over the course of four years, students receive lessons in every core skill required to become a K-Pop idol, including various styles of dance, singing, acting, songwriting, self-development, creative thinking, and more.
While these skills are developed with the aim of helping students pass an audition if they so choose, Howon University has now gone one step further by creating its own K-Pop group: Azer.
I hope our students can get a taste of the joy you can experience from the process of making new things with fellow students within the school.
— Professor Shin Yeon Ah
Azer is made up of seven first-year students at Howon University: Yookyung
The group’s first song, Moombahton track “Elegante”, was released on YouTube and all major Korean streaming platforms this March. According to Howon University, the release is designed to showcase powerful yet feminine choreography and emphasize each member’s individual voice.
Shin Yeon Ah, a member of the former K-Pop group Big Mama and head professor of Howon University’s Department of K-Pop, is the driving force behind the team. Big Mama was known for focusing on singing abilities rather than visuals, and Howon University seems to put just as much emphasis on talent.
Through this process, I hope [Azer] carry the courage and sense of accomplishment not only through the rest of their school years but into the world of popular culture and art.
— Professor Shin Yeon Ah