Mariachi brings about new lessons

I am so excited for March 25. It will be a night of joy. A night of firsts. A night of big, beautiful voices and even bigger musicianship.

We will be celebrating the expansion of our mariachi program at the San Francisco Unified School District — now at five schools — with well, you guessed it, mariachi music. Students from across San Francisco will come together to sing and play.

They will be joined by their peers from a very special youth mariachi group from a high school in Tucson, Ariz., and local favorites Mariachi Nueva Generacíon and Ballet Folklórico Cuicacalli.

Benefits of music

Here are just a few reasons why learning and performing in mariachi is so valuable:

Young people who take up music develop the areas of the brain that process language and reasoning.

Learning music promotes a kind of craftsmanship, as kids work to get a good sound and create something others can appreciate — a skill that can be applied to all studies.

Students who practice with musical instruments can improve their hand-eye coordination — just like when playing sports.

Learning to play music is a healthy challenge, and we want our students to learn early how to take on challenges as a lifelong skill.

Social and emotional learning happens when kids play together. They practice picking up on other’s cues when collaborating on stage.

Kids who learn to play an instrument set goals and build habits to meet those goals by setting aside time to practice and find ways to motivate themselves to keep it up.

These traits are some of the very things we aim to develop in all of our graduates. And letting students spend time on a fun subject like music will give them a good reason to keep coming to school.

As a mariachi musician and former music teacher, I know how mariachi can also help bring a recognition of students’ cultural heritage into school. At the SFUSD, we want to provides students with diverse and expansive offerings in arts education.

In the meantime, I invite you join me in the pure joy, fun and artistry that is mariachi.

Richard Carranza is the superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District.

IF YOU GO:

Viva el Mariachi!

Friday, March 25, 7 p.m.

Mission High School Auditorium/ 3750 18th St., San Francisco

Free tickets: www.vivaelmariachisfusd.splashthat.com

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