BY RAYNALD C RIVERA
DOHA: Qatar Foundation yesterday launched Qatar Music Academy (QMA), the latest in a series of initiatives in promoting culture and preserving Arab heritage through music.
The first of its kind in the Gulf, QMA is dedicated to developing young talent through extensive music programmes that embrace both Arab and Western traditions.
“Qatar Music Academy is dedicated to music excellence, and this is reflected by our teachers, who are world-class musicians, and our cutting-edge facilities. Our Preparatory and Outreach programmes have been carefully developed in order to lay the foundation for a vibrant music culture and industry in Qatar and the region,” said Dr Abdul Ghafour Al Heeti, Principal of QMA.
He was addressing a press conference yesterday marking the launch of the Academy situated at the Katara. The QMA Preparatory Programme is an intensive one-to-one lessons supplemented by two weekly group musicianship lessons that cover music history, aural training, notation, music reading and analysis.
In addition to learning to play the piano, all students are encouraged to discover a variety of Western and Arab instruments such as nay, oud, qanun, buzuq, riq and tablah. The programme, targeted at schoolchildren aged between 8-10 years, is scheduled after school hours.
Programme for this academic year starts this week and will run for five months.
While the programme is free, spaces were limited only to students who demonstrated commitment, a passion and aptitude for music.
After rigorous auditions nearly 80 students have been accepted for the initial Preparatory Programme and of those enrolled, eight percent are Qataris while the rest are expatriates.
QMA’s Outreach Programme courses which will commence in March cater to different age groups - including two-year-old toddlers, young children, teenagers and adults. It offers a variety of courses and workshops including singing and music composition throughout the academic year.
Among the plans of the Academy is to extend its services to schools in Qatar and other institutions as part of QF’s commitment to serve the society.
Issa Boulus, QMA’s Head of Arab Music said part of their plan is to coordinate with the Supreme Education Council to institutionalise music education in all schools making it easier for them to reach out to these budding musicians.
The teachers conducting all the classes have been selected from the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra and other renowned institutions.
Dr Saif Al Hajari, Vice Chairperson, Qatar Foundation and Chairman of Qatar Music Academy said QMA supports Qatar’s vision for a knowledge economy as it enhances cultural life and protects the county’s heritage.
“Music is no longer a luxury but an integral part of people’s lives. As an international language, music has played a major role in development of nations,” said Al Hajari.
“Music is as much a science that requires study, practice and precision as it is a daily part of our lives; and our faculty have been handpicked from around the world to impart this knowledge to our students while helping them find the talent within them.”
Applications for the 2011-2012 programme will open on May 1. Information on all courses, and downloadable application forms are available on Qatar Music Academy’s website, www.music.com.qa. THE PENINSULA