Why Mariachi Education?

The challenge of low academic achievement for Latino students has been well documented. MHC provides schools with an innovative, culturally relevant music program that addresses this achievement gap – our students improve academically, are motivated to engage in school activities and show improved attendance.

Mexico’s heritage music – Mariachi — is a genre of music that is highly complex and reflective of the musical folk idiom. It has been selected by UNESCO as a world heritage art form. It is both an art form and a vital element of the identity of Mexican Americans and Mexican immigrants, which comprise the majority cohort of Latinos in our public schools. This cultural relevance is what sets the heritage music program apart as an effective intervention for at risk student populations.

Teaching heritage music follows a well established and successful pedagogy of providing culturally relevant curriculum to enable students to better relate to course programs within their ethnic cultural context.

While the term “culturally relevant teaching” often deals specifically with instruction of African American students in the United States, it has been proven to be an effective form of pedagogy for students of all racial and ethnic backgrounds. For instance, in Canada, research reflects the need to bridge the gap between traditional Aboriginal education and Western education systems by including spirituality in Aboriginal educational practices. By making education culturally relevant, we improve access to opportunity for a large student population that is at risk due to socio-economic barriers that impede academic achievement.

Contact Information:
If you are a San José educator interesting in learning about bringing the Mariachi Youth Program to your school, please contact:
Monica Ramos
(408) 920-6070
mramos@mhcviva.org