Syncopated New York is a project designed to expose members of the SIR performance group to styles of music from various cultures. Students learn the characteristics and technical applications of a musical style of a particular culture. This musical study also serves as a cultural awareness study that organically fits in with the music-making experience. As students expand their knowledge of different musical styles, they acquire a wealth of information that is available to strengthen their creative and critical approach to music composition.
There are four steps to this project that allow students to gain a greater understanding of the music that they are studying.
Students participate in an eight- ten week workshop that teaches them specific styles of music from a particular culture. A master musician (preferably someone who is indigenous to the culture of study) teaches the workshop.
Students take the musical knowledge that they acquire from the workshop and incorporate it into their music- making experiences. By the end of this step, students will collaborate on 2-3 completed compositions.
Students present these newly composed compositions to the greater community. In the past students performed these musical pieces at the Speaking in Rhythms annual benefit concert held at the New York Academy of Medicine and presented workshops at The Museum of the City of New York.
Students travel to the country that the music originates from. Students participate in a cultural exchange program in which they learn about the music in a cultural context.