5 years ago

Music as a Global Resource: - International Council for Caring ...

Music as a Global Resource: - International Council for Caring ...


SECTION: Music for Sustainable Community Development COUNTRY: United States of America PROJECT: PROMOTING RESILIENCY AND POSITIVE YOUTH DEVELOPMENT WITH AT- RISK STUDENTS: MARIACHI PROGRAM DESCRIPTION: There are obviously great needs among the school children in the US, particularly those categorized as at-risk. Fifty-four percent of students in K-12, Texas public schools, who have been identified as ―at-risk,‖ are primarily Hispanic. One strategy for reaching these students is using a music program centered around Positive Youth Development based on the principles of authentic community engagement, cultural competence, and an ethics of caring. Since 2003, Mariachi Águilas, an ensemble for undergraduate and graduate students at the University of North Texas, has been creating relationships with local middle and high school students in public school mariachi programs. This ensemble learns and performs culturally appropriate music at a high-level, performing for UNT functions, community events, and private functions. Several of the members have been teaching in after-school mariachi programs in middle and high schools in the North Texas area. These students have been trained as culturally aware music educators. In addition, UNT offers a Summer Mariachi Camp in which these predominantly at-risk Hispanic public school students come to campus, stay in the dorms for four nights, attend mariachi workshops all day, visit the recreation center, planetarium, and other University centers, and perform in a concert at the Performing Arts Center. The guiding framework of this program is building trusting relationships and the necessity for reciprocity in which all participants are valued. The mariachi program promotes community engagement as a process that contains elements of shared benefits and reciprocity in which all parties learn from each other. By realizing that music making and all interactions are meaningful within specific social and cultural contexts, this perspective differs considerably from ―outreach.‖ As such the program improves community members‘ self-worth by valuing the cultures they bring with them and promotes opportunities for collaboration among the community, UNT students and faculty. Goals include, but are not limited to, the following: Improving school attendance, retention rates, academic performance, graduation rates and college attendance among at-risk students Providing opportunities for improved self-esteem, resiliency, self-worth, self-expression, and discovery of individual competencies Making better connections between UNT and the local community, by reaching out to populations that are typically not interactive with the university To better prepare undergraduates to work more effectively with culturally diverse populations CURRENT STATUS: Mariachi Aguilas is a well-established ensemble in one of the largest university music programs in the country. It has established strong relationships with local public schools. In summer, 2010, they are offering our third summer mariachi camp and attendance is expected to double. In 30

addition, for the first time graduating high school seniors have applied for admission to UNT. These students will be the first in their families to attend college or university. UNT is working to develop a study abroad experience in Guadalajara, Mexico to experience mariachi in its original cultural context. Graduates from UNT who have been members of Mariachi Águilas are currently teaching music in local schools and starting new mariachi programs. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: CONTACT INFORMATION: Organization: Mariachi Águilas Address: University of North Texas, Denton, Texas Phone: 940-369-7973 Contact Person: Dr. Donna T. Emmanuel, Founder and Sponsor Email: 31

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