18 July 2017

The Edward Said National Conservatory

An overview of the educational program of the Edward Said National Conservatory, along with interviews with students and a teacher of the institution

Archaeology, Culture, and other Religions

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Pope Benedict once said: “the beauty of music [is] a spiritual and therefore universal language.” This ideal has found a home in the Edward Said National Conservatory of Palestine. A part of Birzeit University, the Conservatory provides instruction in both Western and traditional oriental instruments, and their mission involves both education in Western music and preserving the cultural inheritance of Palestine.

Director of the Edward Said National Conservatory
“Since the Conservatory opened its branch in Jerusalem about 20 years ago, we have always taught music to children over the age of five. We have a single academic program that offers Jerusalem students the opportunity to learn music and develop their skills in reproducing a variety of musical instruments, including oriental instruments such as oud, qanoun, drum and the flute, as well as Western instruments, including cello, violin, double bass, saxophone and clarinet.”

The Conservatory has currently enrolled over a thousand students in its five branches in Ramallah, Nablus, Gaza, Bethlehem, and Jerusalem. They come from a wide variety of backgrounds, and they hope to accomplish different dreams and ambitions with their musical training.

“I liked this instrument even before entering the Conservatory ... I loved the violin ... It's a beautiful experience ... changes your life. I would love to learn music therapy and help in this field.”

“Oud is a classical instrument which I enjoy listening to, and it's easy for me ... the sound is so soft and beautiful. We have teachers who teach us oud, nai (Eastern flute) and mandolin ... I chose the oud and I started learning to play it, and I loved it so I continued.”

The Conservatory also provides an opportunity for professors to come and contribute to the education of the young and the passing on of the musical tradition.

“This is my first summer at the Conservatory. I started last year as a substitute teacher. I never thought I was a music teacher or piano teacher. But when they asked me to come here as a substitute teacher, I was touched by the students who wanted to learn and I was happy to teach and transfer my knowledge to the