Bursary recipients Marina Eichberg, Sama Tarazi, Naji Alali Esrawee and Sasha Khoury in rehearsals at the Royal Academy of Music. (Image credit: Stanton Media)
Sama Tarazi and three other young Palestinian musicians bonded with UK students when they came to London as part of the British Council / Choir of London Overseas Bursaries Scheme last month.
Summer is now over and I know at least three people who would agree with me that it was a great one. This August, four Palestinian students were selected to go to the UK to practise with the Choir of London. It was a fantastic two weeks; we had a heavy schedule, but it was worth it.
To begin, our little group – Marina Eichberg, Sasha Khoury, Naji Alali Esrawee and I – split for different music courses at different levels. I played in the Harpenden Musicale programme.
After a week, we regrouped and started taking chamber music and private lessons at the Royal Academy of Music. Along with our chamber music coaches, we had the opportunity to play alongside the Choir of London — Marina on the viola, Sasha on the piano and Naji and I on the violin.
I think all musicians are the same; we all have the same passion, the same fire and, most importantly, the same language. We all know what pain we go through, the difficulties and the hard work, we all need the same motivation and the same push to get us there.
British students experience this, too, and I found it easy to communicate with them. As it was easy for us to bond, it was also easy for us to make sound together and add life to it. The music made us stronger and brought us closer. It was one of the greatest music experiences I have ever had, and I cannot explain how grateful I am for this opportunity.
When I came home and returned to taking my regular classes, I felt a difference. I feel power between my hands when I play now. I can play with satisfaction.”
Music is a hard language for a new student to understand, but once you learn how to speak it, it stays with you. Understanding music is that one factor that makes you feel like you can do anything! Some of you may not have experienced this, but it is my hope that one day you will.
I’d love to go back to London someday and hopefully do something similar, maybe more advanced. For now, the four of us are stuck here – that is, stuck in our man-made quicksand and hoping to reach the bottom. The bottom is our heaven of music. It is our destination. It is where we belong.
Learn more about the bursary scheme.