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Christopher Smith

Christopher Smith

Professor and Chair of Musicology, Texas Tech University School of Music and Vernacular Music Center
TEDxTexasTechUniversity will not be Christopher Smith’s first TED experience in the Lubbock area. Last year, he was part of the TEDxLubbock event and said the program drew him back.

“I enjoyed the format very much,” he said. “It is an opportunity to try to speak in a more kind of global and universal way about the value music has.”

Smith was born in Marblehead, Mass., the birthplace of the Navy and made the world his home. He said he gravitated toward coastal and seaport towns where new ideas were born. But in 2000, he found a new home at Texas Tech and “welcomed the opportunity to build things.”

While Lubbock isn’t coastal, he said he did find “plenty of shear space … physical, but also cultural space” since the area was settled less than 150 years ago. That excited him. “It’s a place where everyone can invent and reinvent themselves.”

Smith said he plans not only to speak to his audience about how music and dance can and have been used as tools to strengthen community ties and enhance quality of life, he’ll show them. Demonstrations will have his audience up and moving.

“I want them to leave with a sense and conviction and emerging commitment to the idea that making art strengthens communities,” he said.

“It is important to the community to realize that art is something that everyone does and can do,” Smith said. “It’s not the sole providence of professionals and objects to be bought and sold.

“To participate in making art is a human right,” he added. “Everyone can do it because participating in the arts is intended to help all people.”

And beyond sparking a love of the arts, Smith said he wants to ignite a sense of wonder in his audience. “I want to give them a passionate curiosity to find out more on their own.”

Watch his TEDxTalk.