Tools for Better Life in the Middle East: Musical Instruments

By Amelia Thomas Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, January 18, 2007 | Go to article overview

Tools for Better Life in the Middle East: Musical Instruments


Amelia Thomas Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


On a cold December day at the windswept Belgian port of Antwerp, an unusual cargo container arrived to be loaded onto a freighter bound for the Israeli port of Ashdod. Carefully stowed inside the container were the results of a year's hard work by the Belgian charity, Music Fund: more than 300 donated musical instruments, all in pristine condition, including 18 clarinets, 43 guitars, 69 violins, a trombone, a double bass, and three grand pianos, all to be distributed to needy music schools in the Palestinian territories and Israel.

Music Fund, headed by president Lukas Pairon, was formed in 2005 to provide practical support to young musicians and music schools in conflict zones and developing countries. It was born of a collaboration between Ictus, a Belgian contemporary-music ensemble, and the nongovernmental organization Oxfam Solidarity.

Ictus musicians had already traveled regularly to Israel and the Palestinian territories since 2002, giving workshops and master classes at schools throughout the region. The plan to deliver further practical aid in the form of musical instruments began as a onetime project initiated by Ictus in 2005, when 300 instruments were collected, repaired, and trucked to the Palestinian territories.

"It proved so successful, though," says Mr. Pairon, "that we decided to continue, to turn it into a permanent, full-time operation. Also, it was so much fun to organize that we didn't feel like stopping. It's a small region, and you quickly get around, hearing about worthy organizations and enlarging partnerships."

It wasn't long before Music Fund expanded beyond the Middle East: A similar shipment of musical instruments soon went out to music schools in Mozambique, and plans are afoot to begin activities in Kinshasa, Congo (former Zaire), this year.

For the many budding musicians in the Palestinian territories, life is far from easy. Not only are music stores in short supply, but most students can't afford to buy instruments, explains Marie Albert, administrator of the Al Kamandjati music school in Ramallah, a recipient of instruments from Music Fund. "That's why Music Fund helps us so much," she says, "With these donations, we're able to give children instruments to take home and practice on, instead of just having one lesson a week at the center."

Furthermore, says Pairon, advanced students often become too skilled for poor-quality instruments, preventing them from reaching their full potential. Music Fund can provide better instruments to promising pupils. "Also, there is little or no music and arts education in the public school system in Palestine," Ms. Albert says, "Everyone needs cultural activities, but perhaps even a little bit more so here, where living conditions are so difficult. Through music, children gain a hobby and a purpose and can meet other children from different backgrounds, exchange ideas, and learn about each other as well as about music. Music here gives them a chance to have a break from their difficult daily lives."

One of the hundreds of such children helped by Music Fund is 14- year-old Mahmoud Karzom from Ramallah. "I've been learning violin for three years at Al Kamandjati," he says, "and they gave me a violin to take home to practice on, which really helps because it means I can play every day. If I didn't have that, my playing would improve much more slowly."

Indeed, Mahmoud's talent for music soon resulted in his being selected to join the school's performing tour to Germany. "It was very exciting," he says, "to be able to leave Ramallah for the first time. I love to play with other people, to perform, and just to play all alone, by myself. My parents are proud of me, too."

Mahmoud, whose favorite composer is Bach, is keen to continue his musical education with the school. "Music makes me relaxed," he beams, "I feel completely different, and really happy, when I'm playing violin. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Tools for Better Life in the Middle East: Musical Instruments
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.