Beit Almusica Shefa'amr (R.A.)

Beit Al-Musica is a non-profit organization (NGO) established in 1999 by a group of young artists and intellectuals. Our mission is to promote cultural rights of the Palestinian minority in Israel, to enrich society through the development of musical frameworks, open prospects for artists, and interact musically with other cultures at the highest standards. We believe that the Palestinian community in Israel is entitled to equal opportunities for cultural and musical expression, to have their own cultural identity, and to benefit from music education at high professional standards. Providing this rich cultural experience will ensure that Palestinians in Israel feel proud and confident of the...
Feb 7, 2013

Clamour Sound Project with Beit Almusica!

Ashton Mills in action March 2012
Ashton Mills in action March 2012


There is great a lot of great news since our last update.

First of all, we are happy to welcome 12 children of the latest AACT project as regular students of Beit Almusica in flute, qanoun, clarinet, oud, violin and cello. These are but a few of the children we would love to have with us. Every additional support means an additional opportunity for more children to get back to the instruments!

Second, we are more than happy to welcome a volunteer starting March 2013, who will be working with us in creative music. Ashton Mills is a graduate of the Guildhall School for Music and Drama, who visited Beit Almusica last March. Following the experience here, with the AACT children at schools, he decided to set up his own charity – the Clamour Sound Craft.

Clamour Sound Craft is a six month music-making project for young Palestinians. By bringing a participatory musical space to isolated and under-resourced communities in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, the project aims to nurture confidence and solidarity among participating groups, and to channel some of the tension of instability into positively rebuilding a world using sound. As part of an ongoing process of research into applied composition, Clamour Sound Craft will practically investigate the role of music in cultural reconstruction. This project will work in partnership with Beit Almusica, who upholds the cultural rights of Palestinians by creating opportunities to study and play music.

We are very much looking forward to welcoming Ashton here – and we know that the kids at school are already awaiting him eagerly. And they are still singing those songs from almost a year ago…

Since the ending of the previous round of the AACT we have been working on an improved version of the project – with more creative music at schools, and much more group work. This has been one of the major positive feedbacks from the children, the teachers and the family. One of the teachers said: “The work at school just puts the whole school in a different atmosphere. It changes the whole relation between teacher and student when you have the opportunity to get together in such a positive and creative framework. And, we teachers deserve some fun, too…”

Regardless of whether you choose to continue supporting the AACT project with time, money, or good will, we are determined to continue this important work in 2013/2014 and beyond and to be great partners with you and responsible and effective stewards of your hope, time and resources.

Please tell five of your friends about this project, post it on your face book and tell your family and friends about it. Even the smallest support from you can make a huge difference in the lives of these children. 

Thank you!  


Nov 8, 2012

Why do we teach music?

Why do we teach music?

This is one question we have been asked more than once throughout the project year by the children and their families. The answer to could be either very complex or very simple, but one answer clearly came out as a result of this project: because it makes the world – and life - a little better.

After the music teaching and the social empowerment sessions came to an end with the summer holidays, our internal work just started. The aim was to reach a comprehensive understanding of the impact and achievements of this project; as well as its points for improvement.

Feedback regarding the social impact of the AACT project was collected from students, school teachers, music teachers and families through interviews and questionnaires. In addition to that, all the data related to the music education: attendance rates and musical development was collected and analyzed.

Based on the data, we can certainly state some facts:

1. The project was very successful in terms of attendance 86 out of the 100 children participated in the project till the end - average dropout rates for this kind of projects is at 25%.

2. The attendance for the music lessons in average is at 78%.

3. The artistic/ musical evaluation for the individual development of each student is at 85 out of 100.

4. There is a clear and significant improvement in how the children see themselves, and in the way they interact with their surroundings. Due to the short period of time (10 months) this effect is small, and we would have to continue at least another two years to make a valid statistic statement.

But these are of course only the dry numbers. One story might tell all the rest. Two of our students, two lovely third graders, were studying oud (Arab lute) since the beginning of the project, making great progress. After the school year was finished, the two – and their families – were so happy with the music, they absolutely wanted to continue. The oud teacher of the two girls, Saied Silbak, volunteered to continue teaching them throughout the summer without fee. During the summer, and after a lesson of 60 minutes, one of the girls simply refused to leave and stop the lesson. She absolutely insisted on continuing, saying that the music gives her a good feeling and something to do, distracting her from the fact that there is not much to do around in the summer holidays...and since then, both of the girlsl are now regular students of Beit Almusica with a partial scholarship - also provided with your help.

We currently work on ensuring project support for another year, again with an improved concept including more group work and more creative music making. Regardless of that, we were able to secure support for 12 of the most talented children to keep on learning music at Beit Almusica.

Regardless of whether you choose to continue supporting the AACT project with time, money, or good will, we are determined to continue this important work in 2012/2013 and beyond and to be great partners with you and responsible and effective stewards of your hope, time and resources. Please tell five of your friends about this project, post it on your face book and tell your family and friends about it. Even the smallest support from you can make a huge difference in the lives of these children. Thank you!

Jul 31, 2012

Postcard: Project Site Visit

Fantastic Auditorium for performances
Fantastic Auditorium for performances

After a moment of embarrassment while searching for the building where Beit Almusica had its facilities, only to realize they had a two-story banner with their organization’s name on it directly facing us, Manmeet and I made it to the Beit Almusica offices. The Community Projects Manager, Melanie Atrash, greeted us warmly as we arrived at their very impressive facilities.

We took a seat with her and the founder of Beit Almusica, Amer Nakhleh and had some very strong and very delicious Arabic coffee as we discussed their role in the community of providing music classes to the Palestinian youth in their community of Shefa’Amer, Israel.

We learned in our meeting that Israel has three different types of schools, Israeli schools, Palestinian schools, and schools that are open to both. Communities that are primarily Palestinian, such as Shefa’Amer, have only Palestinian schools which are funded considerably less than other types of schools in the area. This means that classes such as music suffer the most and are largely unavailable to students in these schools.

Beit Almusica provides these students with a way to continue their music education and to perform. They are even able to take the national exam to receive a music degree through the program at Beit Almusica. The organization focuses on keeping the culture of Palestinian music alive as well, playing and teaching music from Palestinian composers.

After coffee and a chat, Melanie took us on a tour of their two-story music facility. The first stop, the auditorium! In the vast auditorium, lined with photographs of Palestinian music icons, was a piano student playing piano with her teacher.  Miral was being taught jazz piano by a former Beit Almusica student, Loay. She even played a piece for us that she composed herself! You can watch the video we took here:

The next stop on the tour was a peak into their many individual classrooms where students receive lessons. One of these classrooms was being converted into a recording studio! Finally, we saw an apartment which is used for volunteers and even visiting musicians who are playing in their auditorium. Before we made our trip back to Haifa, Melanie even taught Manmeet a scale or two on the piano!

Loay teaching Miral at Beit Almusica
Loay teaching Miral at Beit Almusica
The Back of the Auditorium
The Back of the Auditorium
Manmeet getting some piano lessons
Manmeet getting some piano lessons


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