I recently had the pleasure of attending the 7th annual Turkish music institue workshop in New York.
The workshop had 5 concurrent seminars: Ahmet Erdoğdular for Ottoman singing, Ross Daly on modal music and composition, Yurdal Tokcan on oud, Goksel Baktagir for kanun, and the class I went to, Ömer Erdoğdular on the ney. I have some basic ability on the ney but wasn’t sure what to expect for my ability to participate in the workshop, and in any case my main instrument for the last six months is the klasik kemençe a.k.a πολίτικη λύρα. Ahmet suggested that I should attend the ney workshop to work on makam, ornamentation, so I thought why not.
I am really glad I did. I was out of my comfort zone for most of the lessons but I developed a lot during just a few days. Ömer is an amazing musician and a joy to be around and learn from. I found his method of approaching a new composition really helpful; there was no rushing into anything, instead we’d look at the piece, sing the notes, measure by measure, repeating each section, then only once we were satisfied that we had the pitches and tempo correct, we’d move on to playing.