Tell us a bit about yourself
My name is Noura Al Dosari and I am currently a PGY 2 EM Resident at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. While procedures in the ED would have me handling scalpels, gauze, and suture threads, outside of my shift I like to mellow down with a different kind of nylon string on my guitar.
Barring the occasional examination or hectic work week, I tend to play quite regularly – at least once every week or so to keep my rhythm and skills in check.
What inspired you to pick the guitar as your instrument of choice?
I’ve always been a fan of music. As a child, I would listen to my portable Walkman, write down lyrics of songs I obsessed over and wonder about the different beats and notes running through my ears with each song.
Soon enough, at around 18 years of age, I decided to pluck up the courage and attempted to learn to play the guitar, but it wasn’t until my third year of Med school that I was able to muster through the protracted practice hours and painful fingers and finally master finger styling.
Most of what I learned was self-taught via YouTube, starting with simple, often unimpressive stuff, really. I distinctly remember a friend of mine deliver one of the most heart-breaking comments about my then amateur skills: ‘The only creatures that would tolerate this music are your pet dogs’
This obviously broke my heart. I felt dejected and almost gave up on the instrument altogether, until I decided I wouldn’t measure myself against people’s opinions, but rather gauge myself. After all, I was only getting started, and I wasn’t going to let that criticism break my passion.
You’ve obviously had time to sample various guitar types over the years. Do you have a preference in instrument type or style?
My first decent guitar was a Martin and Co. acoustic that I bought with scrounged up cash, so acoustic guitars will always hold a special place in my heart. However, I primarily play covers of songs and adore folk and Spanish music with increased finger stylings.
It’s no surprise then that, over the years, I have found myself preferring the flamenco guitar, which is a beautiful instrument rooted in Spanish culture and capable of producing some of the liveliest and most captivating music.
Do you have any favorite artists or musicians that inspire you?
My absolute favorite piece of music is ‘The Song of the Golden Dragon’ by Estas Tonne which is haunting, breath-taking, and uplifting all at the same time. While I highly recommend you check that out, the diversity of my artistic interests range from the multitude of compositions in the Spanish and flamenco genre all the way to covers of pop songs by Mariah Carey, for example, without assigning a singular focal point for inspiration.
With a bit of practice, I can replicate most any song or instrumental just by listening to the changes and finding my own way to translate that to notes using my recorder.
Where can we find you if we want to hear you play?
I am, or rather was, in a band, but have not had many opportunities to play in front of a live audience ever since COVID-19 hit. As we move out of the pandemic, however, we are hoping to reignite our collective passion and are looking forward to performing again very soon.
What advice would you give to other guitar enthusiasts?
My advice to any of you out there is simple – when you start to learn to play, you WILL face criticism, cynicism, and doubt. Ignore the people who say you’re wasting your time and find a way to break past the impostor syndrome these negative comments can instigate.
Be patient, be persistent, and very soon the same people who put you down will be the ones asking you to play for them.
I love music in general but have no specific plans when it comes to the recorder besides feeding my passion to play. I don’t see myself doing this professionally though, and besides the family gatherings, don’t perform in front of a crowd of strangers (though I guess a talent show at my own hospital wouldn’t exactly be outside my comfort zone).
Ultimately, my goal is to improve the way I hear and replicate notes and explore the potential and diversity of sound through the recorder.
Instagram account: @noraonly