Music Heard Around the World: The Lincoln Center Institute & Scott Noppe-Brandon
The Lincoln Center Institute is a center dedicated to the arts, and its progression in education. Starting in 1975, the Lincoln Center Institute’s purpose was to conjoin arts and education, creating an educationally open-minded environment for students. This was accomplished through teaching via art pieces rather than dense, boring classroom books that students usually dread. The nature of the Lincoln Center Institute is curious, reflective, and informative for both the mentor and the student. Students and teachers alike can attend enjoyable performances, while they both learn new things.
Recently at Lincoln Center, educators from 38 states and 9 countries visited to attend, including diverse individuals from places like South Korea and Puerto Rico. These educators came to learn and disseminate information about music and the arts back home. Sones de Mexico, a unique group of musicians and dancers from Mexico gave the audience insight into their culture through their outstanding performance. One of the most memorable components of this group was the zapateado, or foot tapping, performed by Lorena Iñiguez. Stylistically, it ranged from seductive dress-swishing moves to the hard step dancing performed on a wooden platform. Iñiguez‘s feet stayed light and constantly moving, never missing a beat. During the performance, the looks on the group’s faces as eyes connected and smiles met proves that incredible music is created by not only pure talent, but a true sincerity and animation.
Scott Noppe-Brandon, the executive director of the Lincoln Center Institute, gave a resonating and impassioned speech. Noppe-Brandon explained how the musical world is not only a form of entertainment, but also one of education for our youth. Talking about arts as an education idea in schools, he said, “We need to reframe the conversation” and shed a different light on the arts, a more educational and academically related one.
Maxine Greene, a well-respected teacher, lecturer, and author, was also present at the performance, sharing her passions, experiences, and attitudes toward life. “Imagination can summon up wonders and horrors; we have to use imagination to realize what we dream about. Open windows, open doors, come together to dream about what we can do." Maxine Greene continued speaking about how important perception is, in the sense of seeing life as extraordinary or ordinary. Her words were greeted with a standing ovation.
As soon as Sones de Mexico took the stage, their humble disposition and appreciation of Mexican culture was obvious. The music was flooded with different sounds, never clashing, but almost melding to create an ethnically diverse medley of traditional European and Mexican music. The set also added sounds with a Santana-like vibe to it, Latin music with hints of energetic rock n’ roll thrown in. A predictable Mexican style was replaced with newfound diversity.
As Scott Noppe-Brandon remarked, earlier, “imagination, creativity and innovation” are essential ingredients in bringing music education to students around the world.#
Naima Karp and Karla Reynado are interns at Education Update.