My journey with the Oud began when enrolling in the Taqsim School, and it was such a journey! Learning how to play the instrument was not the only aim for me, the oud is reminiscent of my childhood being raised in Iran in a city close to Iraq borders, and discovering the cross inspirations between the two rich musical traditions of Iraqi and Persian.
The synergy between my passion for the oud, its forgotten place in the Iranian music repertoire, and great knowledgeably led course design created such an incredibly meaningful experience for me.
Master Ahmad Mokhtar has the best methodology in transferring his knowledge of and passion for Iraqi music to the student, very knowledgeable about t not only the music but the historical account of the maqams and their’ place in a geographical area as diverse, multicultural, and artistically rich as Western Asia.
The school assistant Ruba Al Hilavy is equally helpful, patient and musically adept. I can’t wait for the beginning of the next term at the Taqasim Music School.
When I moved to London, I decided I wanted to learn the Oud. I registered with Taqasim school and I started on an utterly enjoyable journey. The school offered a perfect program for beginners including Arabic music theory classes. The teachers were very experienced and supported me at every step from choosing the instrument to tuning to playing. The method books followed a clear structure and was developed in a flexible way to accommodate students at all levels. The course is very well organised and run. I am now doing my upper intermediate course, and I can confidently say that I have witnessed a great improvement in my skills. Now I can play some of my favourite songs and add some ornamentation. This course has offered me an excellent experience so far, and I can’t wait to progress further to gradually unlock the amazing potential this instrument has.
I have been with Taqasim Music School for over three years. Under the instruction of great teachers of Oud, Francesco Iannuzzelli and Ruba Hillawi I was successfully progressed from Beginners and Upper Beginners courses to the intermediate course with Oud Master Ahmed Mukhtar. I am now at Advanced level and over the three years it has been a great journey in my quest to master an instrument that dates back to ancient Mesopotamia. The Mukhtar Method curriculum book series accompanied with great teaching methodology allowed me to play the Oud with no prior knowledge or experience, and with time, it facilitated improvements in my playing technique as well as knowledge of Arabic music theory. I particularly like the availability of continuous challenges, be it successfully moving from playing with tablature to reading music notation, memorising sheet music, doing solfeggio, or transposing a musical piece to another key. Ahmed Mukhtar is also an academic and his theoretical and historical knowledge about the Oud allows one to go beyond playing the instrument and delve into proud moments in our history and learn about contributions from the likes of Alkindi (802-866 AD) who added the fifth string to the Oud. I am very particular about music and have a fond for Maqamat and Taqasim which I have began learning under Ahmed Mukhtar using my newly acquired Fawzi Munshid Oud. To sum it up, considering the progress made, I would highly recommend Taqasim Music School.
“I have been following the courses provided by the Taqasim school for multiple years, from Beginner to Ensemble. Being new to music, I have always found the teaching adapted to the different people following the lessons. Teachers are very approachable and always willing to help. And most importantly they will make you fall in love with your oud. Highly recommended!”
This is my 10th oud course with Taqasim Music School. I have been enjoying this wonderful learning experience since late 2017. I bought my first oud in Saudi Arabia where I was self-practicing whenever I had a chance. After coming to the UK, I was fortunate to learn about Taqasim Music School through the Arab British Centre website. I immediately signed up for Oud Beginner class with Ruba who performed outstandingly. Subsequent courses where conducted by Ahmed who is a real maestro with a wealth of knowledge on the history of Arabic music and strong background of maqamat and a high level of practical teaching skills. He is also a great friend to his students. My oud playing technique has developed significantly since I joined. With the outbreak of the coronavirus, courses had to be conducted online. I was sceptical in the beginning, but I am now convinced that online mode has not in any way diminished the benefits of learning compared to physical attendance. In fact, online oud tutoring may have a wider degree of flexibility in some areas. In addition to enabling students to better focus on class, students can electronically record any segment of any lesson at any time. I would not even mind to continue online even after lifting the lockdown.
I heard about the Taqasim Music School in 2013 while teaching a student of mine Arabic. He was a talented Oud player and had learned to play at the school.
I have been an oud student at the School since January 2016. I have attended the Music Literacy for Beginners programme and all the oud programmes from Beginners through to Ensemble.
The oud is a wonderful instrument. However, I struggle with tuning, getting the quarter tones right because they just sound wrong and playing a fretless instrument remains a challenge. I try to practice every day for at least one hour and believe I am making progress, although it feels I am in reverse on occasion.
I greatly enjoy the classes and have benefited from working with all of the tutors. It is good to be with other students and to learn from them, if only because most of them have a finer appreciation of oud music. The facilities at the ABC are first rate.
I warmly recommend the School and everything it offers to students of the oud.
John Scott, December 2017