More Than Just A Music School!

While researching a recent article on music education in Egypt, I came across a music center in Maadi called “Symphony Maadi Music School.”

Published in Maadi Messenger

On the way to the music school, I was expecting yet another small institution offering music lessons to a number of desperate students. I was very wrong, as the apartment on the third floor has much more to offer than its space suggests. Further encounters with the music school’s owners have only revealed to me a profound dedication and respect for the music field behind the doors of this Zahraa el Maadi apartment.

Symphony Maadi Music School was established in 2002 by musician Hesham Abu Shady and Maria Harper. Since the very beginning, both partners have shared a belief in a professional approach to music education while making it fun for its students.

Currently, Symphony provides tuition for piano and guitar, in addition to elements of music knowledge, aural tests, improvisation and sight reading. All lessons are on an individual basis. A natural growth of Symphony resulted in an additional, and possibly the most important, activity of the center today.

Six months ago, Symphony became an official representative of Trinity Guildhall (www.trinitycollege.co.uk) joining the existing two representatives in Egypt at Ramses College and Alexandria. “Now we are doing two jobs at Symphony,” comments Abu Shady. “We conduct regular music tuition for our students and also, as representatives of Trinity Guildhall, we offer accredited examinations recognized by music institutions worldwide.”

Trinity Guildhall started in the United Kingdom in 1877 and currently operates through its representatives all over the world. Today, Trinity Guildhall conducts over 500 000 assessments each year worldwide. “Music exams generally in the Middle East increased last year by 45%,” Harper tells us. “UK Trinity examiners come to Egypt twice each year to examine the students’ level in knowledge and performing.”

Being a part of Trinity Guildhall is definitely an important expansion for the center. Students taking Trinity Guildhall examinations are offered certificates which specify their level and, accordingly, are recognized in hundreds of music schools around the world.

“Many diplomas obtained from Egyptian music education institutions are not recognized outside the country. Trinity Guildhall accredited graded certificates open doors not only to music lovers but also to all professionals,” underlines Abu Shady. Even though students enrolled in Symphony are not obliged to take the Trinity exams, they still follow the Trinity curriculum. They are encouraged, but not obliged, to follow consecutive education levels in a timely manner.

Both Harper and Abu Shady make sure that Symphony students are offered books required by Trinity, in addition to other material representing modern high standards of music education methods for all levels. To follow the Trinity curriculum, teachers are required to have basic awareness of its contents. Therefore, the center also offers trainings and books for teachers. Lessons are conducted in the center, yet Symphony also supports other tutoring, not necessarily in Symphony premises. “We are ready to extend all help and guidelines to teachers willing to comply with Trinity expectations directing their students to a possible choice of Trinity assessments. Our recent teacher’s conference at the British Council was the first of many planned to help teachers to help their students,” Harper tells us.

Harper and Abu Shady have a widely understood importance of networking in music education and have managed to create a truly valuable nucleus of music education, to which students, teachers and schools can easily refer. With a big number of qualified music teachers, Symphony is also ready to respond to any schools’ needs for professional music education for all levels—all in respect to Trinity curricula. Harper and Abu Shady’s hard work, Symphony carries not only educative values, but also sets an example of music education networking validity.

All students, teachers and schools interested in music education can contact: Maria Harper  mariaabushady@hotmail.com (010 636 2870) or Hesham Abu Shady (016 533 1965) or visit http://www.trinityguildhall.co.uk/music

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