Edited by: Zeina Ehab
If you’ve ever been to a music ensemble concert before, with no doubt, you’ve heard the name ‘Shahd el Hamzawy’. The young talented Anoon player and instructor. We’ve always wanted to know about her and her impressive self-learning skills.
Exclusively for insider GUC, Shahd gives us an in-depth interview. In which she speaks genuinely about her experiences before and after joining the music ensemble family.
- First of all, introduce yourself to us
“I’m Shahd el Hamzawy, a 34-management student, and a music ensemble member for more than 3 years till now.”
- What music instruments do you play?
“I play the Piano, Anoon, and Xylophone. But mainly the Piano and Anoon.”
- Did you ever study music professionally?
“On contrary, I tried to learn the music note and music theory but I failed miserably.”
- How did it all start?
“Since school, my music teachers have noticed my talent despite my little age. They noticed that I had the ability to listen to music and play it accurately. In the 3rd grade, I was able to demonstrate any music I hear correctly with the piano. In 6th grade was my turning point as there was a musical competition in my school. The Anoon player couldn’t make it, so my music teacher chose me to save the situation because she knew my ability to learn music fast. She taught me the music piece on the Anoon at 11 am and I performed it at 2 pm. It was my very first time playing the Anoon and definitely was not the last time.”
- Who was the first person to discover and support your talent?
“My mom, my dad, and my grandma. But unfortunately they couldn’t teach me music at the time because we lived in Tanta, so there were no opportunities for me to learn music at the opera house or any teacher. That’s why it was more of a double-edged sword as even though I couldn’t get the right education, still that made me work harder and self-educate myself.”
- What were your difficulties in playing the Anoon?
“Anoon is a very difficult instrument and tuning it is a very hard job as well. I remember in 8th grade when I first bought it I had to work on tuning it for 9 continuous hours!”
- How did the music ensemble effect your talent?
“It’s amazing how much you can learn for just being surrounded by people that share your passion. Thanks to Mrs. Ohoud Khadr, she supported us to form an oriental music band ‘تخت شرقي’ despite the ensemble’s focus on western music.”
- Not only do you play the Anoon, you also teach it! How can you teach it without professionally learning it?
“I also give credit to ohoud Khadr for offering me this opportunity. At the beginning I was not convinced because I didn’t study music. But Ohoud advised me to go for it as it will give me lots of experience. Afterwards, I became an instructor in the GUC music academy. I try to teach my students what I’ve learned through my experiences and I try my best to study well to offer my students the best I can. It is necessary because the music academy and the music ensemble have to maintain their level of professionalism.”
- What are your biggest achievements till now?
“First of all, self-learning itself is my biggest achievement. Also, performing with “eftekasat” (a well-known band), is amazing. In addition, I’m very proud that I have always been recommended for many events by Ohoud. And of course me being an instructor in the music academy, whichI consider a very important achievement and I’m proud of it.”
- What inspires you to continue?
“Music. It’s amazing how I can release all my negative energy into positive energy through music and of course the support of my friends and family.”
- How do you manage to be a very active member at the music ensemble and also being a student?
“Passion! Although many times I’ve skipped classes to stay in the music room and practice, I’ve been a ranking student in school and university. The key to my success is balancing between studying and music without affecting either of them negatively.”
- Are you thinking of creating your own music pieces?
“Once you know music in depth, you involuntarily start to create music. So yes, I am looking forward to creating my own music pieces.”
- What are your plans for your future?
“I’m planning to not leave the ensemble even after graduating and also to develop my talent more and more and expand my success to other opportunities.”
- When I was preparing my questions, I thought that I had to ask you about Omar khairat because I know he’s a very important inspiration for you
“Yes! He’s absolutely the source of my inspiration. Since a very young age, Omar khairat has been my role model and I religiously attend his concerts.”
- What would be your advice to someone your age who’s also learning music?
“If you want to learn something you will learn it. They should try hard to learn what they are passionate about, listen to lots of music, and try to pick up any technicalities from other professional artists to expand their knowledge.”
- I’m done with my questions, is there anything you’d like to add?
“As I said before, everyone should try hard to find their talent and to develop it; as I believe talent is the only thing that releases the tension of studying and working.”