Today's New York Times highlights something many people involved in music education have known for a long time… the traditions of the past have to make way for everyone's traditions. Music education needs to embrace music that is culturally releant to the students involved. So, it is no suprise to see how new genres of music are now coming into the classroom… reflecting the community that these classrooms serve and beyond!
CHULA VISTA, Calif., April 17 – At home with his family – four brothers and a foster mother – Jorge Geraldo struggles with pimples and shyness, a handsome 18-year-old with deep brown eyes who sleeps on Goofy and Donald Duck sheets that tend to lie in an unmade heap on his bunk bed.
But come the weekend, he dons his traje de charro – the suit of the horseman, a glimmering costume with gold buttons slithering up the sides and custom-fitted by a tailor in nearby Tijuana – to become the lead singer in Mariachi Chula Vista, a group of high school mariachi musicians who have forsaken John Philip Sousa marches at halftime of football games in favor of spending the weekends playing at parties, baptism receptions and the like.
The 15 young musicians – cellphones attached to elaborately stitched leather belts to communicate with carpooling mariachi moms and dads – are stars in a spirited and growing movement to bring the centuries-old Mexican musical tradition of mariachi to public schools.
Across the country, more than 500 public schools now offer mariachi as part of the curriculum.