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Tag: music

January 25, 2013 Posted by admin in Blog

English through music

“Why does everyone like music?” asked Katie, AAANY’s Adult Education Coordinator, to the class of adults who had just listened to songs by Fairuz and Cheb Khaled. “Because music always makes you feel happy,” answered one of the students. A discussion ensued about whether or not music always makes you feel happy, which concluded in the idea that whether the resulting feeling may or may not necessarily be “happiness,” listening to music definitely triggers some sort of emotional response, regardless of what language the listener might be accustomed to. Music is the language that goes beyond linguistic barriers.

By using music as the medium through which to teach English, Daro Behroozi, a new volunteer, is revolutionizing the Adult Education classes offered at the Arab American Association of New York. In the first class, he taught vocabulary related to music, such as names of instruments, elements of music like rhythm and melody, and different ways of describing songs. After this vocabulary lesson, the students listened to Arabic songs and were asked to discuss what the instrumentation was and what they liked about each song. Daro’s goal is to simultaneously teach English and improve the students’ close listening skills. In future classes, Daro plans to play English songs for the students to enhance their listening ability and make the conversations more challenging. Eventually, as a final project, the students will be given the opportunity to write their own songs in English.

Daro Behroozi grew up in Brooklyn, NY. He began taking piano lessons at the age of 5. He attended LaGuardia Arts High School where he studied music. As an undergrad at Columbia University, Daro studied Anthropology with a focus on Music and graduated in May of 2012. In addition to working on various music-related projects at Columbia, he was an organizer in Students for Justice in Palestine. He is currently pursuing various musical endeavors as a performer, composer, teacher, and researcher.

We are all very excited to have Daro Behroozi working with us to offer such a fun and educational class.

-Chelsea Estevez
April 12, 2012 Posted by admin in Blog

Activists Unite Around Talent Show

The Arab American Association of New York’s first talent show, “Arab American’s Got Talent” on April 4, 2012, had several accomplishments: from empowering aspiring local talent, to building our community base, to teaching event planning to our youth, to unifying the Arab American voice. For me however, one in particular stood out above all: cultivating activism.

As we community organize with the youth around several different issues, we quite frequently run into the problem that our community members just don’t seem to care enough to take action. While the reasons can vary from complacence and apathy to the fear that increased political activity will draw unwanted attention from the law enforcement,  getting people involved to make positive change is an enormous challenge.

While many of the 400 attendees may have come out for no reason other than it was a chance to see YouTube Phenomenon Fousey Tube, the performances actually included powerful messages inciting people to care: from  a song about change by third place winner, Ibrahim, a spoken word performances from our own Sarah Yang, a song by the winner Omnia about the challenges faced by young women in the Arab community, to activist Sami Fanik who rapped "Power to the Peaceful."

To top it off, Omar Offendum, with his west coast Syrian swag took the stage by a storm, bringing the audience to their feet, pulling out a popular chant from the Arab revolutions, "El Sha'ab Yureed Iskat el nezam!" (The people demand the fall of the regime).

East Coast meets West Coast. The beaming smiles of Omar Offendum and Linda Sarsour sum up the potential of activism within the Arab American community that circulated around this event through the medium of performance art. As Youth Program Manager, I can proudly say that just from the event we have injected a new life into keeping this community involved, and reached out to new members who want to make a change.  

- Christophe Jospe