2021 Online Arabic Music Retreat Program and Schedule

Online Arabic Music Retreat Program and Schedule – August 6-9, 2021

The 2021 Retreat will be held on zoom, including several group classes we present at the ‘in person’ Retreat each year. After the Retreat, participants will have access to recordings of the classes they take. Please note that private lessons are not part of the Retreat this year, however our faculty teach private lessons online outside of the Retreat.

The online Retreat features our well-known master faculty including Simon Shaheen, Dr. A.J. Racy, Charbel Rouhana, Rima Khcheich, Najib Shaheen, William Shaheen, Layth Sidiq, Firas Zreik, Michael Ibrahim, Dr Iman Roushdy-Hammady, Tareq Rantisi, and Karim Nagi. This faculty group is familiar with online and virtual teaching. You can learn more about our faculty here.

Online Ensemble Option – Limited Availability – In addition to group classes, we are offering an online ensemble opportunity for a smaller group of high intermediate and advanced participants, who also are familiar with GarageBand or other means of audio recording such as Logic Pro. Each ensemble will learn one selection and will make a recording using GarageBand or Logic Pro. The final editing of each ensemble will be uploaded to youtube and will be the 2021 Retreat online “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 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.

Register for the 2021 Arabic Music Retreat at this link. Registration Form The deadline for registration is July 30, 2021.

Retreat Schedule: All events are listed in Eastern Daylight (New York) time. The program is subject to change.

Optional Pre-Retreat Event – Thursday – August 5, 2021

2:00 pm – 3:00 pm – Optional 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.

Retreat Daily Schedule – Friday – Monday – August 6-9, 2021
All schedule times are listed in New York time, (Eastern Daylight Time) in the U.S.

10:30 am – Friday Only – Welcome Remarks and Faculty Introduction by Simon Shaheen

10:30 am – 11:00 am – Saturday Only – Ensemble Recording Presentation with Layth Sidiq – for ensemble participants only.

11:00 am – 12:00 pm noon – Ear Training with Simon Shaheen – Each day, Simon introduces 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

1:15 – 2:00 pmOptional Lunch Zoom Room Sessions hosted by Ameer Armaly – Grab your lunch (or breakfast or dinner depending on your time zone) and join our Zoom Room to get to know your fellow Retreaters.

2:00 – 3:00 pmEnsemble 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. These rehearsals are meetings in the sense the instructor will go over the piece, talk about the maqam and rhythm, arrangement, and technical aspects. The instructor will help everyone prepare to learn the piece. After the Retreat, 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 beginning and 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 pmPercussion Ensemble led by Tareq Rantisi and Karim Nagi. This is an all-percussion ensemble for percussionists who 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 all vocalists who are taking the group voice lessons. Other participants interested in Arabic diction are also welcome to attend.

Sunday only, 4:45 -5:30 pm – `Ud Maintenance led by Najib Shaheen. Learn about taking care of your `ud, as well as strings and picks. Designed for anyone who is interested in learning more about the `ud.

Evening Activities:

Saturday Night, August 7th – 8:00 pmOpen Mic hosted by Karim Nagi. 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.

Sunday Night, August 8th – 8:00 pmInformal Faculty Concert. Faculty members are invited to perform on zoom.

Monday Night, August 9th – 8:00 pm“After Party” – Details to follow