Alumnus, Doctor of Musical Arts (2014), Music Performance
I am originally from Amman, Jordan, born to parents of Palestinian origin. Following high school, I moved to Canada to pursue university studies.
I started playing classical guitar halfway through my undergraduate studies in Violin Performance at Concordia University in Montréal. I became fascinated with what the classical guitar could accomplish in terms of polyphony and counterpoint—the guitar's ability to play more than one melodic line simultaneously.
As my interest for this instrument grew, I asked about study both violin and guitar at the undergraduate level. Thankfully, I was granted permission and that is when my journey with the classical guitar started.
During the summer of 2009, I attended a guitar festival in Cervo, Italy. There, I met Professor Jeffrey McFadden, my current teacher and supervisor, who was giving lessons and master classes. We discussed the possibility of my pursuing a doctoral degree. I completed my master’s in Classical Guitar Performance at McGill University and moved to Toronto the following year. Currently, I am completing a Doctor in Musical Arts (DMA) degree in Classical Guitar Performance at U of T.
Studying with Professor McFadden has been extremely helpful to my personal development as a musician and also to my career. I have matured as a performer and as a thinker during my current studies. Moreover, U of T's guitar program, along with Toronto's guitar society, invite numerous world-class guitarists to perform and to conduct masterclasses in Toronto. This is an invaluable quality in a guitar program; it allows students to stay connected with the current classical guitar circuit and to receive constructive insight on their playing from other world-class performers.
Following graduation, I plan to organize a tour in the Middle East to share my love for the guitar. I also want to teach in Canada, the United States, and Europe, and to create a guitar program in an institution where such a program does not exist. Furthermore, I want to continue participating in competitions and festivals around the world. I have a few recording projects in mind. There are many projects to fulfil!
My advice to prospective DMA students is that it is absolutely normal to feel torn between being a performer and a researcher. You have to master balancing both mindsets. It can be difficult to strike a balance, but this balance becomes achievable once it is understood as a vital requirement to reap benefits from such a program.
The key to meeting deadlines is to stick to a strict personal schedule of practicing and researching. You will be required to perform on numerous occasions in masterclasses, class concerts, and solo recitals; you will also be required to present papers, attend research classes, form a committee, and research a specific thesis topic.
Another piece of advice is to take your time choosing a thesis topic that you are truly interested in. Start thinking of a research topic early on.
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