I currently have 29 "Acoustic Americana" students that represent a diverse cross-section of New Mexico. Some have musical experience; others are total beginners. They range in age from 13 to 17, but most are about 14 years old. The class is split roughly 50/50 girls and boys. In my class, they learn to play banjo, fiddle, mandolin, guitar, and bass. We do a lot of singing as well.
I find my students to be extremely open-minded musically.
For example, each fall I send them to a local traditional music festival. Most go into it knowing nothing about this type of music, and they almost universally come back excited about having discovered a new, exciting, and very welcoming musical scene. I can honestly say that they are excited about learning traditional music and traditional instruments like the banjo and mandolin. My school is a small charter school with about 475 students. We have a college-prep curriculum and have been rated among the best charter schools in NM.
In "Acoustic Americana" class, we play traditional stringed folk instruments like guitar, banjo, fiddle, bass, and mandolin. While some students are able to buy their own instruments, others cannot afford to. Also, some students may have an instrument (like an acoustic guitar) of their own but would like to try out a new instrument. While I have amassed a few school instruments already, I need more to successfully meet the needs of my large and growing class. The mandolin and bass would be put to use in the classroom daily. They would be played during rehearsals and at concerts by students. One of our basses is broken and in need of replacement. Also, adding an additional mandolin to the band will better balance our instrumentation. We are currently studying Old-Time Appalachian String-band music, and the mandolin will be used to play traditional dance melodies. The bass will anchor the rhythm section. Both of these instruments are easy to learn and they offer students opportunities for lifelong musicianship.
This donation will improve my classroom by giving more students the opportunity to play traditional American music.
It will change their lives by introducing them to a new and exciting instrument that they could play their whole life. It will also introduce them to the deep and rich musical heritage and culture that exists in America to which they will belong all their life. They will become the next generation of traditional music bearers.
If you donated to this project, you can sign in to leave a comment for Mr. Carlson.
DonorsChoose is the #1 classroom funding site for teachers.
As a teacher-founded nonprofit, we're trusted by thousands of teachers and supporters across the country. This classroom request for funding was created by Mr. Carlson and reviewed by the DonorsChoose team.
DonorsChoose makes it easy for anyone to help a classroom in need. Public school teachers from every corner of America create classroom project requests, and you can give any amount to the project that inspires you.