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Popularity of mariachi grows among young players in Oklahoma City

Mariachi is offered at three Oklahoma City elementary schools: Fillmore, Capitol Hill and Adams.

BY CARRIE COPPERNOLL Published: November 26, 2011
To play is a privilege, and classmates look up to them. The students play at area nursing homes and restaurants. They’re especially popular on holidays.

“I can take them anywhere in the community,” Martin said. “They’re well-behaved. They’re educated. They’re talented. That’s what I’m most proud of.”

Many of the Fillmore players have relatives who are musicians. Gustavo Morales, 10, was inspired to learn to play guitar by his older brother. Kevin Cortez, 11, plays the trumpet with his aunt, who plays guitar.

“I like music,” Kevin said. “I like playing it. I wanted to learn something.”

The band members work well together, said guitar player Edgar Macias, 12. The more they play, the easier the mariachi style becomes, said Hannah Geeslin, 11, who plays violin.

“It was actually kind of hard at first,” Hannah said. “But once we got more and more into it, it got easier.”

Gaining confidence is part of what students learn in music, Osborn said.

“It teaches them life skills like responsibility, the importance of working together,” Osborn said. “It alters the way your brain works. It unites the right and left side of your brain. It helps with problem-solving skills.”

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