Hitting the Right Notes at ArtMania
By Hilary Diack
Cairo East Magazine already knows that there are many talented children in the area looking for a chance to develop their musical skills, so we were delighted to have a chance to chat with husband and wife team Ossama El Shibini and Gehan El Shahawi about their well- equipped music center, Art Mania.
CEM: Gehan, when did you start Art Mania? What was the inspiration behind it?
GS: We started Art Mania a year ago. We are a group of partners with a passion for music, and we believe that music affects individuals positively in many different ways, and accordingly everyone deserves to learn it. So we decided to create a hub where people can enjoy learning and practicing music.
Where is Art Mania located?
We have a very accessible location, handy for most residents of the area, at 30 Al Fayrouz District, Gamal Abdel Nasser Street, in front of Gate 18 of Mall of Arabia.
Do many of your pupils go on to enter the field of music on a professional level?
Some of the students come to learn to be players in a band; others come to fulfil a passion. In many cases, people who started out coming just for fun end up being attracted to the idea of playing on stage.
How important do you think it is for children to be introduced to music at an early age?
It is very important for children to learn music at an early age. Music will increase their creativity, their sense of achievement and then later the ability to work as part of a team when they play in a band. In communities where challenging the children capabilities in music is a common practice, talent is discovered and catered to at an early age; a matter which is reflected on the overall music standards in a country.
What age groups (including adults) do you cater to?
We cater to all ages starting from 6 years old (we also have a couple of especially talented children who started a year earlier). Although we have a large percentage of students below 14 years, we still have many adults starting to learn. It is amazing to see how quickly adults can progress, once they get the courage to take the first step.
What events have you been involved with?
We regularly participate in events in the 6 October/Sheikh Zayedarea such as school events, SodicElfit Festival, and Palm Hills Christmas Day. We were also one of the sponsors of the 6th Cairo Jazz Festival and some of our students were given to chance to perform there.