Young musicians at Qatar Music Academy, and their teachers, explain how its programs have seen them overcome fears and discover passions.
"I have dreamed of playing music in front of the crowd since I was a little kid, but tension and anxiety were a barrier to realizing my dream” - this is how 10-year-old Sze Han Law describes her feelings before joining Qatar Music Academy.
Playing music in front of the audience has gradually increased my confidence in myself and taught me to focus and enjoy what I’m doing
When she became part of the Western Music Program at the academy, part of Qatar Foundation’s Pre-University Education, at the age of four, she had to overcome her anxiety about playing music in front of an audience. But with the support of her teachers, she managed to overcome those fears.
Sze Han believes that music helped her overcome her anxiety and enhance her self-confidence, as the Qatar Music Academy (QMA) student explains: “Playing music in front of the audience has gradually increased my confidence in myself and taught me to focus and enjoy what I’m doing.”
Her interest in music started at a very young age, as she says: “My mother bought me a ukulele when I was three years old. I loved playing on it very much, and that gave me a great passion for learning music. My dream is that by joining QMA, one day in the future I will be able to make great music myself.”
Sze Han describes her experience in the academy as being rich and fun as she said: "I started learning music by playing on the violin and piano, and that meant I had to concentrate during the lessons and devote myself by training at home. Over time, this became a fun routine, and I start enjoying playing music and learning not have any fear from performing in front of an audience."
Winning the first-place award for Violin at The Rising Star London Music Competition 2020 was a milestone in Sze's life, and Stefan Robu, a violin teacher at QMA, believes that music helped his student become more committed and mature. “A musician’s life is always full of wonderful moments and experiences, but it also requires a lot of sacrifices and hard work,” he says.
“Sze Han started her journey five years ago with a lot of enthusiasm and interest in violin, and since then, she has become more responsible and mature.”
Tawfiq Mirkhan, Head of the Arabic Music Department at QMA, emphasized the importance of music in developing the value of discipline among students, citing as an example one of his students at the academy, Tuleen Naame, whose instrument of choice is the Qanun and who won first place at the first Gulf Musician Idol Online Competition in Bahrain.
Music changed my life for the better. It formed a special relationship that binds me to my instrument until it became a part of me, which has helped me manage my time more efficiently and productively throughout the day
"Tuleen started playing the Qanun at the age of 10,” he said. “I remember well how she showed remarkable commitment and discipline while she was still a little girl. She is now 17 years old and I can see her becoming an even more talented Qanun player.
"For seven years, Tuleen developed a greater emotional awareness through music and learned the value of discipline, as music refined her thinking, making her highly capable of focusing on tasks and setting her goals precisely when preparing for a concert or a music competition."
Tuleen has always been interested in music, and her parents encouraged her to join the Arab Music Ensemble at QMA when she was nine years old. "At first it was difficult for me to balance my time between music and social and school life, but I quickly overcame this challenge by planning a weekly schedule that helped me organize my time," she says.
"Music changed my life for the better. It formed a special relationship that binds me to my instrument until it became a part of me, which has helped me manage my time more efficiently and productively throughout the day."