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A King Among Instruments

Learn About the Oud

The mythical genesis of this instrument can be traced back to 3200 BCE and was referenced in the story of Lamech in the Old Testament. It is often referred to as “the king of instruments” because of its iconic sounds that have come to symbolize the world of traditional Arab music. Join Michael Ibrahim, Artistic Director of the Arab National Orchestra, as he demonstrates the versatility and unique qualities of this ancient instrument.

To learn more about the oud and music from the Arab world explore the accompanying slides and worksheets.

Recommended for

Grades 3-12 (Ages 8-17)

Accompanying Presentation

View on Google Slides or download as a PDF


The Arab World (PDF)
Draw What You Hear (PDF)
Fill in the Blank (PDF)
Part Identification (PDF)

About the Artist

Michael Ibrahim, is a dynamic conductor and a recognized innovator in the Arab music circuit. He began his musical studies on the ‘Ud, and later studied the Bassoon and Nay as his musical training progressed. Ibrahim studied under renowned musicians Simon Shaheen, Johnny Sarweh, Nadeem Dlaikan, Douglas Bianchi, Anthony Iannacconne, Dr. David Pierce, Robert Williams, and Victoria King. He earned a bachelor degree in music from Eastern Michigan University, and a Master of Music degree in conducting from Wayne State University.

Ibrahim’s background and unique approach to composition and improvisation—fusing Western and Arab music idioms— has led to performances in concert halls and venues the world over, features on a number of recordings and film scores, and opportunities to share the stage with some of the most influential figures in Western and Arab music.

His role as an educator, providing instrumental and ensemble instruction, lectures and demonstrations on Arab music, privately and in the classroom, at university and grade school levels, ultimately brought him to founding the NAO, where he currently serves as Music Director. Ibrahim hopes that through his performances and educational efforts, he can instill a wider appreciation for Arab music and its heritage.


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