Students enter Casino Del Sol for 2013 Tucson International Mariachi Conference workshops
This is the sight I most enjoy seeing.
Masters workshops with Mariachi Sol
of Mexico by Jose Hernandez.
This year over 700 mariachi and folkloric students attended the three days of workshops at the Tucson Conference, where again they learned from masters of the music and dance. Jose Hernandez's Mariachi Sol de Mexico taught the masters students, while level I, II and III students studied with members of Susie Garcia's Mariachi Las Colibrí and top teaching talents from various schools and groups in Tucson.
Dr Jeff Nevin (second from right) as he was a member of Tucson's The Ugly Changuitos.
The beginning classes used texts written by Dr. Jeff Nevin - a Tucson native and former member of Tucson's first youth mariachi, The Ugly Little Monkeys. Nevin, who holds his doctorate in composition, created the country's first college level accredited mariachi program, and has written outstanding instructional books.
On hand as well as one of the truly historic figures in mariachi music, trumpeter / composer / arranger Don Miguel Martinez. Martinez is to the mariachi trumpet what Louis Armstrong was to the jazz trumpet - literally the inventor of every aspect of the instrument's sound in the genre, from solo expressions to two and three part harmony and counterpoint. Don Miguel was the first trumpet player of the group that is widely regarded as the Beatles of the mariachi world, Mariachi Vargas of Tecalitlán.More news: Nosoloaves - Birds of the world
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Don Miguel Martinez (left) with Jonathan Clark. >
Jose Hernandez and members of Sol de Mexico working with masters students.
In the masters level room, Jose Hernandez set the bar high from the start. I have taught the musicians to use their ears to make sure they were together, particularly the trumpets. "We're the loudest," he said. "If one violin is off, no one will hear it. but if one of them is off, everyone knows. "
I have insisted that the student musicians get it right, and they rose to the occasion. I have similar attention to detail and generosity in working with the students. I watch Las Colibri's guitarrón player work with individual students, teaching them precisely how to lock their often skewed instrumental lines into the polyrhythmic fabric of each tune.
Members of Tucson's Ballet Folklorico Tapatio work with young dancers .
Over the Easter Yaqui Wellness Center where the folkloric dancers worked with Colima's Juan Carlos Gaytan Rodriguez and members of Tucson's Ballet Folklorico Tapatio, it was the same story. Patience, precision, and gentle demand of a higher level of dancing was the hallmark of each of the teachers, and one could see the young dancers making the steps of their muscle memory the time went on. Worth mentioning as well is the generosity of the Easter Yaqui Tribe in making this world-class facility available for the dance workshops.
Alberto Ranjel and Andrea Gallegos worked with small groups of young violinists, teaching them proper posture, how to hold the instrument for maximum long-term comfort, and how to really apply all that bow can do. In the hallway Jeff Nevin worked with young trumpet players on warmup skills and more, while members of Mariachi Sound of Mexico, Mariachi Las Colibri and others taught similar skills to their small instrumental groups.
It was very impressive.
The educational component has changed a lot over the decades, and has been fought over by those with different ideas of how best to serve the students. Many different groups have taught the workshops in Tucson over the years, from such big names as Mariachi Vargas, Mariachi Cobre, Mariachi Los Camperos from Nati Cano, Mariachi Los Arrieros and Mariachi Nueva Tecalitlan to many other local instructors, and probably a few headliners that I've forgotten. Maestro Rafael Zamarripa similarly took the folkloric area to a high level, aided by Tucson greats from the folkloric dance fields as well. But over time the more thought out educational process is taking hold, not just here but all around the conference scenes in America and Mexico. The different conferences emphasize the workshops to greater or lesser degrees, but still remains a prime focus in Tucson.
And when one considers the fact that all of the members of Mariachi Las Colibri, which wowed the crowds both at the Spectacular and Garibaldi concerts, came to Tucson to study at the workshops over the years, the conference has a pretty good track record.
I will probably come back and add more to this as my memory is jarred , but I'll leave it for now. Tomorrow I will talk about the Participant Showcase where the students in their own groups get to show off their stuff. That's always my favorite part of the conference.
~ by Daniel Buckley on April 29, 2013.