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Music Educators Explore Mariachi in the Classroom


Contact: Katie Moskovciak
Phone: (818) 433-7600

Learning about the instruments used in mariachi music

Los Angeles, CA – In August, our dedicated teachers and local educators came together in person for ETM-LA’s intensive week-long Summer Training Institute. They explored culturally relevant and diverse strategies for teaching music in under-resourced communities, best practices in classroom management and procedures, student engagement, curriculum design, and more. In partnership with the American String Teachers Association (ASTA) Los Angeles, the institute included Strings Workshop: Mariachi in the Music Classroom. This workshop not only supported music educators, but also helped kick off ETM-LA’s celebration of Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month!

Juan Rodriguez leads the Mariachi in the Music Classroom workshop

The mariachi workshop, led by Juan Rodriguez (Dir. of Instrumental Music, Robert Frost Middle School; VP & President Elect, Los Angeles Secondary Music Teachers Association), explored how to build, develop, and incorporate mariachi music into the instrumental music classroom or teaching studio. Topics ranged from: The History of Mariachi; Traditional & Alternative Instrumentation; Building Upon Your Current Strings/Band Program; Adapting Mariachi to Your Ensemble/Teaching Studio; Implement Mariachi into Single Instrument Instruction; Mariachi Clothing (Traje); and Group Performance. Participants even engaged in playing mariachi music together!

Participants shared that the most valuable thing they learned included: “learning how to adapt my school’s program in order to incorporate mariachi traditions and music,” “the possibilities of including mariachi or other kinds of cultural music into the music curriculum,” and “a new musical style to use in teaching!”

ETM-LA Instructional Supervisor & Instrumental Specialist Dr. Franklin Gómez stated: “[The workshop] was beneficial because it showcased the simplicity of teaching mariachi to string orchestra teachers who may not have considered it before. It also encouraged and empowered them to share mariachi music with their students by using strategies that are common in a music orchestra classroom. In addition to the implementation of mariachi string orchestra techniques, it also provided the opportunity for teachers to learn new ways to tie into their schools’ communities. We look forward to not only string orchestra teachers utilizing the tools and techniques that were presented in the workshop, but all music educators as well.” He further noted, “Mariachi is not only of Mexican heritage, but also a big part of the Angeleno culture.”

Through ASTA Los Angeles’ generous support, together we are ensuring top-notch strings and instrumental instruction for students across low-income area communities.


Music educators across LA County explore mariachi music

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Education Through Music-Los Angeles is an independent 501(c)3 non-profit organization whose mission is to provide and promote music in under-resourced schools as part of the core curriculum for every child in order to enhance students’ academic achievement, creativity, and overall development.

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