The Lack of Appreciation of Arabic Music

The lack of appreciation of Arabic music is common among LAU students. Many solutions may exist for allowing students to learn the true value of our music.

The reasons for this phenomenon vary and are highly influenced by the music industry in the Arab world that westernized our music. Furthermore, the misconception between what the people need or expect of music and what the industry is actually presenting results in further discouraging people to appreciate Arabic music.

Ali Khalil-marketing student playing the guitar. photo taken by Sally Farhat on May 2, 2017.

The fusion between Arabic and Western music, without replacing the characteristics of Arabic music but adding to it a few western characteristics, will help students further grasp and understand our music and its various maqams.

According to Amr Selim, Assistant Music Professor at LAU, fusion is an important element that makes Arabic music more familiar to students. However, he insists that the fusion is only for making students more familiarized with the music but not to make the music richer.

“I think it’s a really good way for educators to introduce Middle Eastern music in a fusion way,” said Selim. “However, we need to understand that our music is just as rich. When we are infusing our music with other cultures it’s not because our music is dry or it needs something to enhance it.”

Having more live concerts is another solution that Selim suggests to increase the appreciation of Arabic music.

Lynn Jbeily- TV/Film student playing a western instrument. photo taken by Sally Farhat on May 2, 2017.

Students are only exposed to the industry’s music that westernized Arabic music making it all sound similar. Thus, the exposure of students to live concerts will increase their knowledge about Arabic music and teach them that our music goes beyond what they hear on the radio, which is the industry’s music.

“As an artist your first obstacle is to educate your audience to let them know that what you have is valuable because not everyone is going to get it,” said Selim. “We need to constantly program Arabic music concerts through universities, through art centers, through culture centers.”

Furthermore, Selim stresses on the importance of education to raise the appreciation of Arabic music.

“The misconception between what we have, what we want, and what we need, needs to be clarified,” said Selim. “And I think this starts from education.”

Selim has high hopes in terms of raising the standards of Arabic music among his “little community” at LAU.

LAU is trying to introduce Middle Eastern music to its students and to teach them it’s true value through providing several courses that teach Arabic music such as survey of middle eastern music or the appreciation of Arabic music.

Through equipping students with a minimum knowledge of Arabic music, the hope of elevating the appreciation of Arabic music among LAU students becomes real.