In partnership with University of the Arts-Professional Institute for Educators, Al-Bustan successfully piloted a new music course for adults in June 2010.
Led by Director Hanna Khoury (violin/vocals) and musicians Hafez Kotain (percussion), Hicham Chami (qanun/lecturer), and Adeeb Refela (oud), participants spent the mornings learning about Arab music theory, melodic modes (maqamat), rhythms, and vocals, as well as understanding the role of music within Arab cultural traditions. In the afternoons they had instrumental instruction in violin, qanun, oud, and various percussive instruments, and learned a variety of vocal and instrumental pieces as an ensemble.
Within 5 days, the students made amazing progress and performed 10 pieces of Arab classical and folk music with the faculty at the culminating recital. Thanks to everyone for their participation and dedication!
In reflecting on his experience, one of the participants, Bill Snelling who teaches music to high school students, remarked:
What I came away with from the class is a profound appreciation and enthusiasm for the art of Arab music which I am excited to share with my students. . . .This class will live on through my students. The practical knowledge I have gained is of enormous value, both educationally and socially. Most social tension is borne out of simple ignorance of other cultures and peoples. I am certain that I can diminish some of that ignorance thanks to the efforts of the instructors and Al-Bustan. I will be a better teacher and my students will be far more cognizant of the rich tradition and current vitality of Arab music.