Gaza music school shows defiance in troubled land

Children living in Gaza have to grow up fast, yet a local music school is working to nurture their talent despite the troubles going on outside.

Pupils at the Gaza Music School, totalling 52 boys and 73 girls, come to the school three times a week after school to learn a musical instrument and take theory classes.

A recent article in the Independent found that the school is nurturing some top talent in both European and Arab music styles, providing music education to children who before had never touched an instrument.

The school is set to become part of the Edward Said National Music Conservatory in April, the fifth branch of the Palestinian music institution.

Yet because of the political struggles in Gaza, students can only enter national music competitions by video link as they cannot leave the territory. It was even damaged in a bomb attack just four days after giving its opening concert in 2008 in which some of the instruments were destroyed.

However, despite these problems, the music is helping Gaza children transform their lives. Pupil Feras Adas told the news provider that he was taught to play the guitar by his cousin, but has received better training at the school.

“Now I want to be a big musician in guitar,” he said.

Meanwhile, Suhail Khoury, director of the Edward Said Conservatory, said that two 11-year-old boys from a Palestinian refugee camp had poor behaviour and were not performing well at school. Yet on joining the choir their personalities changed. “They had something to show for themselves,” he explained.

According to the news provider, European music teaching is popular at the school because a number of musically-qualified Eastern European women have travelled to Gaza with their native husbands. One teacher, Yelina Lidawi, suggested that Gaza only has around six pianos, two of which are at the Gaza Music School.

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