secondary schools

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    Engaging Students Through Mariachi

    Mike Lawson | November 5, 2010

    With the growing Hispanic population in Southern Nevada, a Clark County School District (CCSD) board member requested that the district consider implementing a district wide, standards-based Mariachi program. The program grew from approximately 250 students in three secondary schools in the fall of 2002 to approximately 3,000 students in 17 schools in the fall of 2010. Because of this incredible success, I have been providing workshops across the country on how to successfully implement Mariachi programs. The how-to example provided below by Kerry Bryant, a Mariachi Workshop attendee, will assist any band, orchestra, or choral director in starting a high quality Mariachi Program in their school. Marcia Neel

    In the spring of 2008, MENC hosted a week-long Summer Mariachi Workshop at their home office in Reston, Virginia. After attending that workshop, sponsored by Yamaha Corporation, I felt completely prepared pedagogically to move forward and start teaching the class.

    At the workshop presented by Marcia Neel, president of Music Education Consultants and former CCSD music supervisor and Adam Romo, full-time CCSD mariachi educator, it was recommended and reinforced that the best way to initiate a mariachi program is as a standards-based course meeting during the school day commensurate with other credit-bearing courses, rather than as an after-school club which had been my initial intent. The unknown was how I was going to make this happen and the information below reflects my experience in getting the course adopted as part of the regular school curriculum. Hopefully, this will assist others looking to include classes in Mariachi as part of a comprehensive, standards-based music course meeting during the school day.

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