2020 Virtual On-Line Arabic Music Retreat Program and Schedule

Virtual Arabic Music Retreat Program and Schedule – August 7-9, 2020

While we are unable to meet in person in 2020, we are pleased to present a three-day mini-Retreat via zoom, with several of the group classes we present at the Retreat each year. Participants will get access to recordings of the classes they take. We’ll cap off the event with a virtual Open Mic session on Sunday evening. Please note that private lessons are not part of the Retreat this year, however our faculty do teach private lessons on-line outside of the Retreat. All classes will take place using ‘zoom’.

The on-line Retreat features some of our well-known master faculty including Simon Shaheen, Rima Khcheich, Bassam Saba, William Shaheen, Layth Sidiq, Firas Zreik, Dr Iman Roushdy-Hammady, and Tareq Rantisi. This faculty group is familiar with on-line and virtual teaching. You can learn more about our faculty here.

On-Line Ensemble Option – The Ensembles are SOLD OUT: In addition to group classes, we are offering an on-line ensemble opportunity for a smaller group of high intermediate and advanced participants, who also are familiar with GarageBand or Logic Pro. Each ensemble will learn and record a piece using GarageBand or Logic Pro. The final editing of the audio and video for each ensemble will be uploaded to youtube and will be the 2020 Retreat on-line “concert”.

Ensemble members must be at least at the high intermediate level of competence on their chosen instrument. Ensemble players and singers should be able to read western music notation, or should be able to learn quickly by ear. Participants must know how to use GarageBand or Logic Pro, and will be expected to make a recording of themselves performing the ensemble selection. Please send questions about the ensemble option to Kay Campbell at: arabicmusicretreat@gmail.com.

Thanks to a very enthusiastic response, registration is now closed for the 2020 Arabic Music Retreat. We hope you can join us at a future Retreat.

Pre-Retreat Events – Thursday – August 6, 2020

11:00 am – 12:00 pm noon – On-Line Ensemble Orientation with Utar Artun
One hour orientation to the on-line ensembles at the Retreat. Open to participants in the ‘ensemble option’ only.

2:00 pm – 3:O0 pm – Retreat Orientation Meeting
Orientation for participants who have questions about the program. Also useful to participants who are new to zoom and would like to get more familiar with it in a meeting.

Retreat Daily Schedule – Friday – Sunday – August 7-9, 2020
All schedule times are listed in New York time, (Eastern Daylight Time) in the U.S.

10:45 am – Friday Only – Welcome Remarks by Simon Shaheen

11:00 am – 12:00 pm noon – Ear Training with Simon Shaheen – Introduction to one maqam (musical mode or scale) by singing sequences set to traditional rhythms.

12:15 pm – 1:15 pm – Group Classes – Note: each participant chooses one instrument to focus on during the Retreat and attends group classes for that instrument only. The format will be one-way teaching from the teacher to the group, with segments allowing the group to repeat, without the teacher hearing the students. All participants will be muted until a question and answer period at the end.

  • `Ud
  • Bowed strings – violin, viola, cello, bass
  • Voice
  • Nay
  • Qanun
  • Percussion – riqq (Arabic tambourine), frame drum, darbukah

2:00 – 3:00 pm – Ensemble Meeting for those who are participating in the Retreat Ensemble Option – The ensembles will meet on zoom each day to discuss the piece they will be learning and recording on GarageBand or Logic Pro. These rehearsals are meetings in the sense the instructor will go over the piece, talk about the maqam and technical aspects. The instructor will help everyone prepare to learn the piece. When each participant has prepared the piece correctly, they will add their track to the track they receive from the instructor.

3:15 – 4:15 pm – Theory and Improvisation

Theory with Laith Sidiq – Lecture with audio examples exploring topics of maqam, musical form, performance practice, and history.  Tailored to intermediate participants, and those musicians who are new to Arabic music.

Maqam and Improvisation with Simon Shaheen – Workshop on advanced improvisation and maqam topics. Tailored to advanced musicians who are familiar with maqamaat.

4:45 – 5:30 pm

Percussion Ensemble led by Tareq Rantisi. This is an extra percussion ensemble that is available only for percussionists who have signed up for the ensemble option.

4:45 – 5:30 pm

Arabic Diction Group Class led by Dr. Iman Roushdy-Hammady. This class is for vocalists who are taking the group voice lessons.

Sunday Night, August 9th – 8:00 pm

Open Mic hosted on zoom by Ameer Armaly. Open Mic is one of the most popular events at the Retreat. It’s a salon-style evening in which participants prepare a short performance for the group. This is your chance to share your talents – in music, poetry, dance, etc. The Open Mic host will invite performers to sign up for a 5-7 minute slot and will curate the evening’s performances.