JAZZed November/December 2013 : Page 15

student travel connections with their Cuban peers, and were surprised when the Cuban students sent them all concerned emails a month later after the Boston Marathon bomb-ings. They’d made true friends. JAZZed spoke with Norgaard about the trip, its efectiveness with her students, the magic of exploring new cultures with young musicians, and what trips like this can mean for how schools handle their curriculums in general. JAZZed: Just for starters, Ana – this was an incredible project. Ana Norgaard: For me, it was per-sonally one of the most ambitious things I’ve ever done in my life. It took me a year and eight months to prepare and for the whole project to come to fruition. I really wanted to make sure that it was a com-prehensive class and not just a trip. Once I got the green light, I was able to dive in and teach them with depth many stylistic nuances of Cuban music. That work previ-ous to the trip was phenomenal because when my students fnally got there and played Cuban music for the Cuban mu-sicians, I couldn’t have felt prouder. They did a fantastic job. JAZZed: There must have been an im-mense amount of preparation that went into this. AN: Looking back, it was a tremendous amount of work, but it was so worth it to see them being immersed in something real rather than me simply writing about Cuba up on the whiteboard. This was a true hands-on experience in every way. While we were in Cuba, the students defnitely felt uncomfortable at times. Culturally speaking, Cuba is a very difer-ent place from the U.S. Imagine throwing seven high school students from Boston in the middle of Havana with all the smells and chaos and music – I’m positive that it was overwhelming to them at frst. It took a few days for them to adjust to being in this very diferent city and culture. Yet, what was so nice about getting these kids to experience something that made them uncomfortable at times is that they got to question their own views. This experience rattled all of them at the very least. As an educator, that’s the true grit of it all. Sometimes when you get your hands a little dirty, that’s when the best things can happen. Once I did the legwork and made sure everything was legal by going myself frst and saw how safe it is and how eager and open-minded the Cubans were to meet us and work with us, I was able to report back to the school’s administration and got an unequivocal approval to carry out the project. On my frst trip, I was able to meet with the head of international cul-tural afairs to make sure they were open to the exchange. She was immediately very enthusiastic and mentioned an ex-change that Wynton Marsalis led in De-cember of 2010 with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. So there has been some precedent with professional musicians, but not many programs like this involving high schoolers. JAZZed: That must have been great for you personally because of your back-ground in Afro-Cuban music. AN: Yeah, it certainly was – Afro-Cu-ban music is my true passion and is what I SCHOOL OF ART | COLLEGE OF MUSICAL ARTS | CREATIVE WRITING | THEATRE & FILM BOWLING GREEN ST A TE UNIVERSITY AUDITION DATES: FRIDAY, DECEMBER 6, 2013 SATURDAY, JANUARY 11, 2014 SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 1, 2014 SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2014 SATURDAY, APRIL 5, 2014 Live Your Passion! For answers to audition questions, call (419) 372-8577 or visit BGSU.edu/Music. Prospective students must apply to Bowling Green State University in addition to auditioning for the College of Musical Arts. 14MU188 The College of Musical Arts has earned a reputation as one of the country’s outstanding collegiate music programs, providing exceptional training for students pursuing professional and teaching degrees in music and related felds. the Arts 15 November/December 2013 • JAZZed

Bowling Green State University

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