Viva la Musica Mexicana! Teaching MexicanMusic and Mexican American Students

Amanda C. Soto, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Music Education

Mexican Americans are the largest group within the U.S. Hispanic population classification and many school populations in southern states and in pockets around the country consist of a Mexican American majority (Garcia, 2004; U.S. Census Bureau, 2010). This increase in enrollment is not reflected in the music programs and within the content of music curriculum. Despite the use of Spanish-language songs and attention to the mariachi genre, other popular musical genres of Mexico and of Mexican Americans are ignored in music curriculums because of lack of knowledge and resources.

Because there are no materials available that focus on the rich musical traditions of Conjunto, Tejano, Banda, Pasito Duranguense, Son Jarocho, and Son Huasteco specifically written for music teachers, I propose to complete a book that addresses this gap. The proposed manuscript will be based on educational and ethnographic research and will be coupled with practical pedagogical lessons for music educators. I am seeking support to fund site visits to conduct ethnographies of students participating in the musical genres outlined above. These ethnographies will inform the manuscript’s lessons, provide insight into Mexican and Mexican American’s experiences with culturally relevant music, and will inform successful recruitment and retention activities for these students.