Membership Instruction


Beginner & Intermediate Levels Welcome

ACEarts Presents

Arabic Music & RhythmAnnual Membership Program

If you are in love with Arabic music and you want to learn more but don't know where to begin, look no further.  This annual member program will not only introduce you to each of the central concepts of Arabic music theory and practice, but will also introduce you to the beautiful social tradition of Arabic music, inviting you into a community of like-minded musicians that meet for year-round for performances, retreats and workshops where we share music, cuisine and friendship.

Coursework (30-min classes 2x per month)

Darbuka (beginner) Learn the basics about one the most popular hand drums in the world, the darbuka, including common strokes, popular rhythms and play along songs!

Darbuka (intermediate) Unlock the magic sounds on the darbuka, including popular trills and fills, solo concepts, and exciting embellishments on popular rhythms.  Sound like a pro, whether you want to play solos for dancers or parties, or classical pieces with a Middle Eastern music ensemble.

Riqq (beginner) Learn the basics about the riqq, one of the most fascinating tambourines in the world, including grip and posture, common strokes on closed and open position, and popular rhythms.

Riqq (intermediate) Explore the musicality and nuance of the riqq with popular classical zil fills, rolls on closed position, and shakes and trills in open position.  Play along with popular songs and unlock the mysteries of riqq legend, Michel Merhej Baklouk.

Frame Drum (beginner) Explore the magical world of the frame drum, one of the oldest instruments in the world. Learn basic strokes, sounds and Middle Eastern rhythms.  Experience the frame drum as a tool of music, meditation and trance.

Frame Drum (intermediate)  Dive deeper into the world of frame drum, combining techniques of Indian, Middle Eastern, North African and Uzbek drumming styles.  Explore different lap and standing positions, fills, tricks and polyrhythms.

Maqam In this class, we will explore the beautiful Arabic system of scales, or maqamaat. We will review each of the 10 most popular maqamaat through ear training (singing).  Students will receive fun exercises to follow during class.

Arabic violin (beginner) We will explore the magical art of Arabic music upon the standard violin.  Topics include Arabic tuning, bowing concepts, common Arabic ornamentation, the 5 most popular maqamaat (Arabic modes), and intro to song analysis.  Prior experience with violin is recommended but not necessary.

Oud (beginner) We will explore the wonderful world of the oud, or Arabic lute.  Topics include tuning, right hand plucking, left hand expressions, the 5 most popular maqamaat (Arabic modes), and intro to song analysis. Students will also gain a necessary foundation of reading and interpreting sheet music.  

Oud (intermediate) In this course, we will begin to explore the wide world of ornamentation in the context of song analysis.  Ornamentation is the ‘dressing’ of notes which give the oud its distinct sound.  We will touch upon some of the most popular uses of ornamentation, such as tremolo, slides and turns.  Students will come away fully learning several popular Arabic pieces which they can perform with ensembles or with friends/family, and will become better readers of sheet music.


Special Classes

Muwashah - 1 hour, 1x per month

In this class, we dive into the rich world of Arab-Andalusian music dating back over 1000 years to southern Spain, once a hub for Arab tradition, music and language.  Muwashah specifically relates to music written to poetry.  This interesting direction of composition resulted in fantastic rhythmic meters.  Some of these rhythms became so popular that they formed a music genre of their own, inspiring composers to write music specifically to these amazing rhythmic meters.  We will go over these most quintessential muwashah rhythms.  Riqq, darbuka and daf players are welcome.

Taqasim (beginner) - 1 hour, 1x per month

In this class, students will be introduced to the basics of taqasim, or the art of Arabic improvisation.  Taqasim is a rare use of music where the listener is pulled and pushed to the will of the improviser, employing tension and release in the context of Arabic maqamaat (modes).  We will explore modulation, or the precise movements between maqamaat which give distinct flavor to the art of Arabic taqasim.  Some expressions are short and stay on only one maqam, for example to introduce a song, or others are many minutes long and stand on their own, modulating among many maqamaat and taking the listener for a long ride.  Lastly, we will discover together the wide range of expressions, from very swift, rhythmic and powerful, to soft and sweet, by analyzing popular phrasing, sequences, and qaflat or ‘endings.’

Ensemble Class (in-person only) - 1 Sunday per month, 11am-4pm

Students gather monthly for Sunday intensives to perform songs, solos and course work together!


Calenda of Classes