I am very fortunate to teach orchestra and mariachi to a really incredible and diverse group of middle schoolers. My students are curious, enthusiastic, creative, and community minded. They love to perform and positively represent our school out in the community.
What inspires me most is their ability to be inclusive and bring every student, regardless of ability, into our musical family.
It is a common occurrence in my class to see students, comforting each other when they have had a bad day, cheering each other on through challenges, and celebrating each other's successes.
We are now going into the second year of offering mariachi as a performance ensemble at our middle school. Mariachi is a traditional form of Mexican folk music played by a group made up of violins, trumpets, guitar, vihuela, and guitarron. The students in my class, many who are picking up an instrument for the first time, learn to play these instruments and sing in Spanish.
Our Mariachi ensemble gives students the opportunity to either express their own rich culture or to explore and gain appreciation for the culture of others.
Students in mariachi ensemble learn the translations and stories behind each song they perform, traditional dances that accompany the music, and how to perfect their 'grito' (a shout of joy or encouragement that erupts during a song).
We have been able to fundraise and write grants to get all of the instruments we need to complete our ensemble except for the vihuela. This five string instrument from the guitar family has a bright sound and is part of what makes the mariachi ensemble distinct from other groups. Can you help us reach our goal of getting all the instruments we need for our ensemble?
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