JEDDAH: Saudis have welcomed the Minister of Culture’s decision to issue the first licenses to two musical training institutes in the Kingdom, with a specialized online platform to be launched in 90 days.
“I announce the issuance of the first license for two music institutes in the Kingdom,” said Saudi Minister of Culture Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan on Monday.
He called on enthusiasts in the music sector to apply via the platform. “I call everyone interested in the private and nonprofit sectors to submit license applications for institutes in various cultural fields through the platform that will open in 90 days.”
In addition to providing cultural and artistic training programs, the platform will allow individuals in the cultural and artistic fields to officially obtain licenses.
The licenses cover different artistic and cultural fields, including theater, music, literature, publishing, translation and museums.
There are three licenses for music practitioners that cover musicians, music acoustics and music production.
Many Saudis have acquired their musical knowledge through self-teaching from YouTube or private classes, but that will now change with specialized schools.
“I am very pleased with the announcement as it only shows the country’s great efforts in achieving its vision when it comes to the arts and music,” Sawsan Al-Bahiti, the first Saudi female opera singer, told Arab News.
Al-Bahiti is also the owner of a music institute called the Soulful Voice, which focuses on vocal coaching, but teaches other areas of music including production and theory.
She said that she would apply for the license and is looking forward to advancing her music institute. “Such an initiative, of course, gives a structure and legislative body to providers in the music sector, and it sets them to a certain standard in the Kingdom. We can now look forward to the quality of music training and education here.”
Loulwa Al-Sharif, a Saudi musician, is a pianist and soul, blues and jazz live singer who has six years’ experience. She hailed the initiative, and told Arab News: “It makes me so happy to finally have music schools as we have many interested in learning music and we really need these schools.
“I think this initiative is going to help the music sector in the Kingdom to grow bigger because we have a lot of Saudi youth with very amazing talents who are interested in learning music. Needless to say, the only guide available for them is YouTube, friends with music backgrounds or traveling abroad.”
The initiative will also contribute to raising the quality of output in culture and the arts. “We need to learn varieties in music genres in order to raise the quality of talented people we have and show the world the hidden talents of the Saudi community. I would love to apply and learn and be an effective part of the music world in the Kingdom,” Al-Sharif said.
Moiz Rehman, a musician from Jeddah, has been a self-taught music instructor since 2011. He plays guitar, bass and various percussion instruments. “I have mentored various local musicians with their work and refining their musicality over the years,” he said.
“I think the initiative is outstanding and rather long overdue. There is an abundance of musical talent in the Kingdom. The targeted demographic is ready for it, and this, in the long term, will bring about significant cultural and socio-economic change and progress.”
One of the crucial things about such an institution is that it would inform and educate musicians on two key aspects of their musical aspirations, said Rehman. “The first of which would be performance, which mainly includes building and practicing their craft. Second, the business and commercial side of it, which, to put it briefly, involves getting your craft out there, promoting and driving an income out of it.”
Aseel Ashary, who is interested in music and writing, told Arab News that everyone needs music in their lives. “The fact that there were no music institutes in Saudi Arabia was really devastating, so I had to learn through YouTube tutorials and it was not always as good as having an instructor.”
She expressed her thrill at the announcement, and hopes institute prices would be reasonable and affordable for the public. “I would love to have the experience of learning and understanding music better,” she said.
Through the decision, the Ministry of Culture aims to empower and support Saudi talents, and develop cultural and artistic capabilities to enrich the industry by creating educational and training opportunities in various creative disciplines in accordance with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.
The platform will later provide several services which provide applicants with information on how to obtain licenses and permits, and the procedures and requirements necessary to complete requests.