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