Birzeit University Launches First Music Bachelor Degree in Palestine

Sound can have a powerful effect on the soul and mind. Birzeit University, recognizing that music greatly affects and enhances our learning and living, is on the verge of offering a new advanced academic program in music to its students.

This fall, at the beginning of the new academic year (2016-2017), will mark the start of a new undergraduate musical degree.

Dean of the Faculty of Arts Majdi Malki said that the program is going to be unique. “Music is all about practice. Our provocative, interactive classes will drive excellence in music education. The program will exclusively focus on teaching Arabic music. It will be an exciting and stimulating environment in which to work and study, and an attractive platform for Palestinian and Arab talent.”

Ten to 15 students will be accepted initially. The program is designed for students who are in level four in music education or attained an intermediate certificate in music. In addition, registered students will be awarded with a half-scholarship.

The program’s curriculum is strong in traditional musicological and musical skills for musicologists, performers and composers but is also notably wide-ranging and imaginative. It offers courses in music performance, Arabic Solfège, musical composition and music technology, in addition to the principles of Western music.

“Through our strong relationships with local and national musical organizations, especially the Edward Said National Conservatory Music, we were able to create unique opportunities for our students and graduates to be recognized in Palestine and overseas as leaders in their chosen artistic disciplines,” said the dean.

The newly inaugurated program will be one of the university’s richest, with  outstanding teaching musicians from Palestine and the Arab world such as Simon Shaheen, Ahmed al-Khatib, Samir Jubran, Issa Boulos ,and Youssef Hbeich.

Students will have to complete 123 credit hours, 76 of them in music. Young musicians will be offered a number of elective courses to nurture their main specialization through interdisciplinary approaches.

Malki said that the music program will provide the tools for students become thoughtful artists engaged with the broader field of art and music education. “Our students will grow into accomplished artists and experienced musicians who can impart their love and knowledge of music to students of all ages.”