Mariachi Music School Looks to Recover Heritage of Mexico

Created: 2013-07-03 01:51 EST

Category: World

Mexico seeks to show the world how mariachi music is really played at its first Mariachi School in Plaza Garibaldi, in Mexico City.

The school aims to professionalize the teaching of mariachi music after the genre received U.N. recognition.

Students are taught the history of mariachi music, theory, technique and repertoire during a three-year academic study course, graduating as  professional technicians in musical education.

As well as training musicians, the academy also hopes to serve as a documentation center for the preservation of antique mariachi music and recordings.

A place where researchers can learn about the mariachi genre and where students can study the art of composition.

Aaron Jimenez, a founding professor at the school and academic coordinator, is a professional violin concert player.

His father was a member of a mariachi group and as a young child, Jimenez accompanied him on tours around Mexico's southeast.

Jimenez regrets a late start for Mexico in professional mariachi music teaching.

[Aaron Jimenez, Professor]:
"Many in Mexico feel this (school) has started a little late, because other countries have beaten us in terms of careers, looking for mariachi players. First of all I think it's great that other countries have done this, maybe from the first world, but at the same time I feel sad that Mexico does not turn to look at our own culture."

But many agree, the school can only help breathe new life into a musical tradition that, along with tequila, already serves as shorthand for Mexican culture the world over.

In 2011, the U.N educational and cultural agency, UNESCO, added mariachi music to its intangible cultural heritage list.

The form-fitting suits and wide-brimmed sombreros unique to the mariachis remain on show at Garibaldi, famous as the capital's home of mariachi.
But many mariachi band members in the plaza have no professional training; and their lack of musicianship can sometimes be a little hard on the ear of captive tourists.

The school hopes to change that and make Mexico once again the king of the mariachis.