Exchange Through Music

Basque student showcases trikitixa


Going on an exchange year is undoubtedly one of the most enriching and profound experiences adolescents may undergo. Leaving your home country is not easy, and there are multiple avenues for student exchange. In this essay, I shall endeavor to explore one of these choices.

There is now widespread recognition that technology has a formidable capability of connecting both individuals and cultures around the world. On the other hand, in accordance with Roy Ayers, “The true beauty of music is that it connects people.” Ergo, it might be a captivating and efficacious idea to attempt to unite these two concepts. For instance, exchanging songs from your country with a person or a band in another country would not only provide both parties with musical culture, but also enable them to meet new people, practice different languages, have fun, and potentially lead them to build further intercultural relationships.

This project is personal to me since when I came to America I decided to bring my trikitixa (an instrument from the Basque Country, where I come from) to share with my American bandmates. During my exchange year, I have had a virtual exchange with a boy from Catalonia as well. He is also from Spain; however, our cultures are eminently disparate, and so is our music. I taught my host sister some songs from the Basque Country and recorded them to send to my family, and played the trikitixa multiple times (in front of the school, my family, my band, and at the Indy International Festival). I talked with the band directors about including my instrument in one of the jazz bands and made contacts with jazz musicians in America to exchange music with my jazz band in my home country.

In conclusion, I believe this project could have a positive impact on many musicians and furnish students with a better understanding of numerous cultures around the world.

—Martin (Spain), hosted by the Cox family (IN)