In Case Study: Celebrating Mariachi in Iowa, high school band director Ruben Newell and middle school director Patti Bekkerus from Denison (Iowa) Community Schools shared how they started a successful mariachi program.
In addition to research, patience and understanding, they offer these three tips.
Find the Right People: Newell and Bekkerus went to Las Vegas for a mariachi workshop. However, they also found resources in their own small town. Because the school district did not have a strings program, they hired a local violinist to teach strings to the students.
Involve Parents: Newell invited parents to give input. Family members enthusiastically jumped at the chance to support their students and the program by cooking cultural food for the annual Fiesta Mariachi.
Celebrate! Denison's Fiesta Mariachi fundraiser not only makes money for the program, but it also serves as a major performance opportunity for the students and a fun time for the parents and the community.
Photos Courtesy of Denison Community Schools Mariachi Program
This article originally appeared in the 2018 V1 issue of Yamaha SupportED. To see more back issues, find out about Yamaha resources for music educators, or sign up to be notified when the next issue is available, click here.