Art Reduces Conflict in the World

Universidad de las Artes (Guayaquil, Ecuador)

InfoUArtes (Edición No. 5.  June 3, 2019)


Art reduces conflict in the world 

Michael Tracy, American musician, saxophonist and educator, gave a master class on improvisation at the University of the Arts, on May 28.   During his stay, we talked with him about music and art.

Why did you decide to focus on Jazz?

I started as a classical saxophone musician. My parents were not musicians, but they were musical. There was always music in my house, they always supported me in what I did. When I went to college, playing classical music was not enough for me anymore.  Not that it was better or worse, I just wanted more. I was intrigued with the idea of what I could create. During my career and my time as a student I started to direct myself towards jazz, because I wanted to challenge myself.  It’s just something that makes me happy, the idea of communicating and sharing what I know and what I can do.

How does the dynamics of improvisation work? 

You do not know what is going to happen.  That challenges me to think fast, to be able to respond, interact and guess what the other person will do next. Improvisation challenges me to become more open to ideas.  How do I work?   The answer is that I practice, like everyone else, by improving my skills, chords, songs.  I play ‘classic’ songs and work on different pieces, just to have enough ability to adapt to any situation I may be in.  But that’s the fun, I do not have to sit and judge myself, I tell myself the next time we’ll try differently.

What do you expect to happen after this visit? 

At the University of Louisville, Kentucky, we have several partnerships around the world, from Brazil to Australia. I have had contact with people/educators from Ecuador, for many years.  I have been talking to Andrey Astaiza (director of the School of Sound Arts at UArtes) about how our universities can unite our music programs.  My specialty is jazz, but I also work in other areas in my school, so we will seek a way in which our two communities can work together.

Why is art important? 

The arts are important. My little experience in Ecuador has been overwhelming because of the love that exists in the people for art.  Last week I was in Loja with his orchestra and we visited a conservatory with 920 students. Everyone (every student) went to this place to play music after school.  It’s fantastic!  We do not have anything like that in the United States. The arts are important, of course, it is what makes less conflict in the world. It’s what makes us get along, that we can communicate and be open to what the other can provide