JEDDAH: A Saudi university is hitting the high notes after becoming the first in the Kingdom to offer music courses to students.
Some of the country’s top professional instructors have been hired by Taif University (TU) to run training sessions in singing, poetry and the playing of musical instruments.
Although the courses are not part of the city university’s curriculum, education chiefs hope the program will lead the way in developing young musical talent in the Kingdom.
Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal inspired the initiative a year ago, and students are already lining up to join the new music academy on the university’s main campus.
The music courses will include singing training, involving tuition in vocal keynotes, pitch and sight-reading exercises, and the singing of Arabic poetry. Starting next month, experts will also be on hand to teach students how to play the lute, dulcimer and piano.
TU spokesman, Saleh Al-Thubaiti, told Arab News: “TU has turned an idea into reality. The academy offers several projects, the most important of which is the Prince Abdullah Al-Faisal International Prize for Arabic Poetry.”
He said that the poetry club at the TU Arab Poetry Academy had attracted more than 850 applications from students wishing to take part in poetry writing, recitation, and music, and they would be performing in concerts this semester.
Al-Thubaiti said: “The poetry-writing course will focus on teaching students aspects of Arabic prosody (the patterns of rhythm and sound used in poetry) in an innovative manner.”
Trainees will be given the opportunity to present their poems at special student soirees and publish their poetry in an online magazine for young people.
The academy also plans to launch an annual on-campus summer gathering for young poets.
Those taking part in the poetry-recitation course will learn how to recite poetry and make audio books for general listeners and people with special needs.
The TU Arab Poetry Academy recently held its first matinee event when faculty members and students recited several poems.
“The university campus is not all about work and textbooks,” Al-Thubaiti said.
“Students are interested in other activities that can help them develop their talents and skills. We believe the university is providing an environment where students can develop themselves on various personal and academic levels.”
In December last year, the poetry academy held its first concert which was attended by the university’s governor, president, academics and students. It included poetry readings and a performance of national and traditional songs by the university band.
Director of the poetry academy, Dr. Mansour Al-Harthi, told Arab News that 500 students had enrolled on the music course, adding that the city of Taif had long been renowned for its musical activities.