They are two women passionate about music and the joy it brings. A duet- and musical “marriage” of an academic with two doctorates of music and a young visionary “musicanista” and founder. Both with a vision coupled with a shared enthusiasm for communicating that music is a lifestyle. A lifestyle that they believe -we can all pursue- to get in touch with our inner musician whether it be the rock star, soprano or violin player.
They are two women on a quest to inspire others to explore a musical journey as an interest, lifestyle, and career or to distress or simply gift their children to joy of music to nurture their upbringing.
Meet Dr Reem Deeb and Ms Zalfa Farah.
What is “Keys’ n Cords”?
A newly launched (March 2015) accredited music academy academy nested in residential Verdun, advocating music as a lifestyle.
The music academy welcomes students six days a week, and offers Trinity College London program of study. The Trinity College London is an international exam board that has been providing assessments since 1877. Exams are internationally recognized and fully accredited by Ofqual, Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation, and other education authorities in many countries around the world.
How did you come up with this new concept?
It’s the love child of Zalfa Farah, and I – an iinitiative that stems from our teacher-student relationship, which dates ten years back.
Keys’ n Cords was born out of a need to create an inspirational academy accessible to all age groups – a space which houses a rich jet diverse musical curriculum.
“Growing up in Beirut, I craved a music school where music was fun, interactive, dynamic, taught in colourful surroundings; a school with academic qualifications, where music is soulful and a lifestyle”, says Farah. Deeb adds, “Keys’n Cords offers Trinity College London program of study. The academy curriculum is composed to develop character and personality, all the while styling every measure of movement with music.”
How will be the lessons and the classes organized?
Our musical curriculum caters and welcomes all age groups and opens its five colourful, vivid studio rooms for yummy mommies and infants in the morning, as well as young (and) adults in the afternoon. Special musical curriculum includes Glee Club, Karaoke a much awaited special surprise programs amongst these music therapy group classes.
Classes are held in rooms designed in electric blue, rocky red, vibrant yellow and feisty green – an invitation for students to sing to their heart’s content, colours that we believe are soothing for spirit, mind and soul.
Can you tell us more about the key signatures programs?
Signature programs are bespoke and composed by Dr Reem Deeb these feature a cappella choir, a “music & pregnancy” curriculum, “babies & toddlers with moms”, early bloomers initiation (3 to 7 years old), music lessons, and music therapy for children and adults. One-on-one programs cover classical, modern and oriental instruments and vocal classes such as electric and acoustic guitar, piano, ukulele, recorder, oud, kanun, jazz, pop and rock, amongst others.
How do you see music in Lebanon?
Lebanon houses so much talent- it’s a melting pot rich in culture and diversity. Historically music has always been part of the Lebanese DNA with music personalities and legends such as …….. just to mention a few. Recently music has become fashionable and accessible with social media and streaming online. We have seen a trend of people from all age groups-walks of life wishing to sign up and express themselves. Living in Lebanon is inspirational and the fusion of music is ever evolving –which is fabulously encouraging.
Who are Dr. Reem Deeb and Zalfa Farah?
Dr. Reem Deeb holds two Doctorates of Music with a specialization in Voice Performance, History and Literature, and minors in Music Education and Choral Conducting from the prestigious Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, Bloomington, USA. She also holds a Music Therapy certificate from Roehampton University, London, UK. She is a lecturer of music at the American University of Beirut and the Lebanese American University and she is a choir director and associate organist at the National Evangelical Church of Beirut. Dr. Deeb’s repertoire includes several recitals, oratorio, opera and musical theatre roles, as well as productions. She collaborated with the well-renowned organist Naji Hakim, the conductor Robert Wickham, the soprano Deborah Roberts, the alto Caroline Trevor, the tenor Tom Philips and the conductor Peter Phillips of Tallis Scholars amongst others. She is also a member of American honor society for music professionals Pi Kappa Lambda.
Zalfa Farah, founder of music academy Keys’n Cords, holds a Bachelor of Science, Sociology and Anthropology. She volunteered in April 2014 at the Savior Children Foundation, an orphanage and school in Kasoa, Ghana, where she taught education, singing and dancing to children of ages 3 to 15 and expanded their view of the world through music and art. This rewarding experience to spread happiness and broaden children’s horizons through music, has paved the path for Farah to develop a long-term five-year collaboration between Ghanaian orphanages and Keys’n Cords, whereby the school students will secure music education in Ghana. At the age of 15 to 16, Farah was chosen amongst 500 students to travel to Turkey and Oman and perform as a soloist. She grew up in a house where her mother and father are musically astute and where she used to listen to Mozart before going to school.
A message to the Lebanese women?
Don’t just sing in your cars and at home –come along and express yourself!
Music is liberating, fulfilling and nurturing.
As successful empowered women, female executives, entrepreneurs and working mother juggling a professional and personal lifestyle is often challenging. Music is empowering fosters creativity, acts as a de-stressor and is a positive catalyst for us all.