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  1. #1
    Senior Member Marya's Avatar
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    Default What music do you like for teaching Egyptian Style Oriental Dance

    Hey there all you instructors of Egyptian Style Dance,

    What is your favorite music, song, cd, composer etc. for teaching? I use different music (of course) for shimmies than I do for walks, hip drops etc.

    I use a lot of Jamila Zamora's CDs as well as Sahra Saida and the Raks Sharki series from the Egyptian Academy of Oriental Dance. I prefer the classic dance routines but use tabla solos for shimmies and occasionally Beledy Taxim for slow arm undulations etc.

    I am always looking for different ideas for my class.

    Marya

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    V.I.P. shiradotnet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marya View Post
    Hey there all you instructors of Egyptian Style Dance,

    What is your favorite music, song, cd, composer etc. for teaching? I use different music (of course) for shimmies than I do for walks, hip drops etc.

    I use a lot of Jamila Zamora's CDs as well as Sahra Saida and the Raks Sharki series from the Egyptian Academy of Oriental Dance. I prefer the classic dance routines but use tabla solos for shimmies and occasionally Beledy Taxim for slow arm undulations etc.

    I am always looking for different ideas for my class.

    Marya
    For beginner level, I like using Mary Ellen Donald's Gems of the Middle East series of three CD's. I find that the simple instrumentation (kanoun & percussion) is accessible to beginners, and I really like the musicianship.

    From what you said, it sounds like you really like the big-orchestra style of music. I too like Jalilah's CD's and the Wash Ya Wash series that you mentioned. In addition, I suggest:

    • Golden Days Enchanting Nights. Performed by Khalil Abboud, produced by Leyla Lanty.
    • The Oriental Fantasy series of CD's by Beata and Horacio. See Tanzakademie Cifuentes - Beata & Horacio Cifuentes for their web site in Germany. U.S. vendors who might have it include Dahlal, Audrena, and Artemis Imports.
    • Outi of Cairo has a nice CD. Her web site at Outi of Cairo - CD lists vendors on both sides of the Atlantic who carry it.


    I don't actually use the above ones in class because I use Gems of the Middle East, but if you utilize big-orchestra music, the above ones would be good.

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    Thumbs up

    It depends. Am I thinking of focusing on arms or circles, travelling or hits, combinations? I'll select something that fits with what I'm working on.
    I don't have a single special cd I go to.

    For a bit of fun last week I threw in some Ween - La Cucaracha no not that La Cucaracha, it's another one. Funky trumpet and drums. I was using it for shimmies and moroccan circles (omis).
    (It's on emusic if you want a giggle).

    My poor ladies

  4. #4
    Senior Member Marya's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiradotnet View Post
    For beginner level, I like using Mary Ellen Donald's Gems of the Middle East series of three CD's. I find that the simple instrumentation (kanoun & percussion) is accessible to beginners, and I really like the musicianship.

    From what you said, it sounds like you really like the big-orchestra style of music. I too like Jalilah's CD's and the Wash Ya Wash series that you mentioned. In addition, I suggest:

    • Golden Days Enchanting Nights. Performed by Khalil Abboud, produced by Leyla Lanty.
    • The Oriental Fantasy series of CD's by Beata and Horacio. See Tanzakademie Cifuentes - Beata & Horacio Cifuentes for their web site in Germany. U.S. vendors who might have it include Dahlal, Audrena, and Artemis Imports.
    • Outi of Cairo has a nice CD. Her web site at Outi of Cairo - CD lists vendors on both sides of the Atlantic who carry it.


    I don't actually use the above ones in class because I use Gems of the Middle East, but if you utilize big-orchestra music, the above ones would be good.
    Thanks Shira,

    How did you decide to use Mary Ellen Donald's music, did you try a lot of different music and come to prefer her music? What did you try that you felt wasn't working?

    Marya

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    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
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    Default Music for teaching

    Dear Marya,
    I use all kinds of different music, but in my beginning classes I tend to use Journey of the Gypsy dancer of Jalilah's too, because in some of it the the music is still very Egyptian feeling and sounding, but less complex, if that makes sense.
    I also tend to use a lot of the claxssic old stuff as well as some new stuff. I like to use Jalilah's #4 I think it is to teach drum rhythms and I use specific types of music to teach beledi within a belly dance routine. ( There is a specific name for this kind of beledi but right now it escapes my memory...???), I use different sources for teaching specific taqsims, etc. For drum solo I LOVE that really complex one that's on Suheri Zaki in Germany, and I use that version and Dahlen's version both, to show how even a Middle Eastern musical score can come out different form show to show, as part of the cultural element.
    Regards,
    A'isha

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    V.I.P. shiradotnet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marya View Post
    How did you decide to use Mary Ellen Donald's music, did you try a lot of different music and come to prefer her music? What did you try that you felt wasn't working?
    The reasons I like Mary Ellen's music for teaching beginners and early intermediates are:

    • Her recordings offer a rich repertoire of standard Middle Eastern songs that are good for students to learn. So even if I'm using only one of the specific songs from the CD in class, if the students listen/drill/practice to the rest of it while practicing at home, they'll get to know songs that we consider to be standards. The CD series is a nice way to introduce students to a lot of different classics at a price that's affordable to them.
    • Back when I was a student many years ago, I used to feel frustrated that each 8-week session I had to buy yet another album. At the time, I was a college student, newly married, and this was a financial burden for me. I wished my teachers would just pick one that had a lot of good music and guide me in learning how to use ALL the music on that album. Now, many years later, most of my students are operating with tight finances. I remember what that was like, and by choosing one high-quality CD and focusing my instruction on several songs from the same CD, I make it possible for them to keep their expenses down.
    • Mary Ellen has companion products that are designed to be used with the CD's. There are a couple of books by Mimi Spencer that contain translations and a bit of background information for the songs appearing on this CD set. (See my web site for reviews at Music of the Middle East and North Africa ). There are also 3 books by Mary Ellen that analyze the rhythmic structure of each song on these CD's, enabling students to supplement my rhythm instruction in class with their own independent home study if they wish to do that.
    • The simple instrumentation (qanoun + percussion) is accessible to students. They can clearly hear the melody.
    • I can buy a quantity of CD's from Mary Ellen at wholesale prices and resell them to my students. I've found that if I bring CD's to class to sell, students are more likely to buy them than they are if I tell them where to go on the Internet to buy them. Convenience matters. And a student is more likely to practice at home if she buys the music.
    • I like the fact that I'm supporting an independent musician who personally benefits from my use of her music in my classes, rather than patronizing a large faceless corporation like EMI. (For those who don't know, Mary Ellen is blind and wholly supports herself through her music.)
    • Music on the Gems CD's tends to have track lengths that are compatible with what I do in class. For example, if I want to create a tuition choreography for my students, I need a track that isn't too long - something that can be memorized without too much difficulty. The Gems CD's meet that criterion.


    Things I have disliked on other CD's that I have tried using:

    • Some have full-length routines without track boundaries at the beginning of different segments, which makes it inconvenient to access the specific beginning of a song for purposes of classroom use or home practice.
    • Some contain mostly original compositions by the musicians, whereas I personally prefer to use traditional songs as a way of helping students learn "the repertoire".
    • Some have vocals that I find grating due to how the vocalists interpret the music.
    • Some have free-form jam sessions in the middle. If my aim is to introduce students to a widely-used Middle Eastern song, then I prefer an arrangement that stays close to the original melody. If my aim to teach taqsim technique, then I prefer a stand-alone taqsim rather than one embedded in the middle of another song. Again, remember that I'm talking about music that I use with beginners and early intermediates. Although I might use a piece with embedded taqsim at a more advanced level, my focus for purposes of this message is what I use for "classroom" rather than "art choreography".

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    V.I.P. shiradotnet's Avatar
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    I would add that one thing I like to do is teach my students to dance to a track on Gems with its simple qanoun/percussion orchestration, and then when they think they've got it nailed I play for them the same song juiced up with full orchestra. For example, they may learn a simple choreo to Nibtidi Mneen al-Hikaya using the Gems version, and then I pounce with the version on one of the Jalilah's Raqs Sharqi CD's. It really opens their eyes to how different the same song can sound with different instruments, and switching to the version on Jalilah's CD after teaching them the Gems Version gives me a structure for talking to them about the format of classical Egyptian pieces, in which different segments of the same song are entirely different melody lines.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Marya's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiradotnet View Post
    I would add that one thing I like to do is teach my students to dance to a track on Gems with its simple qanoun/percussion orchestration, and then when they think they've got it nailed I play for them the same song juiced up with full orchestra. For example, they may learn a simple choreo to Nibtidi Mneen al-Hikaya using the Gems version, and then I pounce with the version on one of the Jalilah's Raqs Sharqi CD's. It really opens their eyes to how different the same song can sound with different instruments, and switching to the version on Jalilah's CD after teaching them the Gems Version gives me a structure for talking to them about the format of classical Egyptian pieces, in which different segments of the same song are entirely different melody lines.
    what a great idea. I purchased some materials from Mary Ellen for a musician friend in the hopes that she would learn some of the material so I could have live music, but I gave it all to her and never listened to the CDs. I guess I could get it back from her.

    Marya

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