Mariachi Master Apprentice Program (MMAP)

Mariachi Tesoro de San Fernando showcases the talents of advanced students from the award winning and nationally recognized arts-in-education program, the City of San Fernando Mariachi Master Apprentice Program (MMAP). A project created in 2000 in collaboration with the late Señor Natividad “Nati” Cano, founder of the world renowned Mariachi Los Camperos and the City of San Fernando Recreation and Community Services Department, began as an experiment and has developed into an award winning program.  The project distinguishes itself due to the quality of instruction provided by members of Mariachi Los Camperos de Nati Cano that includes: Grammy Award-winning musical director, Jesus Guzman, Sergio Alonso, Jimmy Cuéllar and Juan Jiménez. Even after his passing, Mr. Cano is still recognized as the single-most important figure in the dissemination of mariachi music in the United States. 

MMAP unites young studentsTesoro #6..... with master musicians in the communities of the north-east San Fernando Valley to study the popular and traditional Mexican art forms. Through the study of culturally-relevant musical traditions, young people are discovering a sense of pride in the heritage of their families and developing positive self-identities. As young artists, they contribute  to the underserved communities they live in by preserving and disseminating the traditional arts.  The results are important because our youth are provided the skill-sets and real-life experiences needed for success as future leaders and also allows them to develop a better understanding and respect for all people within our culturally diverse society.

MMAP’s presence in our community has resulted in an increase in the number of high school graduates and students pursuing higher education. Over the last decade, the graduation rate of MMAP students has remained 100%. This figure is especially notable considering that last year, the statewide graduation rate of California was close to 80.8%, the district wide graduation rate of the Los Angeles Unified School District was 80%, and within our local school district, one of the most underrepresented and underperforming areas of Los Angeles, 79%. Additionally, many MMAP students have pursued higher education and have attended some of the most prestigious universities in the nation, including MIT, Stanford, UC Berkeley, and UCLA.

On November 19, 2012, First Lady Michelle Obama presented to the City of San Fernando Mariachi Master Apprentice Program (MMAP) the 2012 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award, the Nation’s highest honor for after-school arts and humanities programs.  Receiving this award at the White House is testament to the hard work, dedication, and commitment of all of the students, parents, and community arts advocates who provided support and believed in the program.

First awarded in 1998, the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award is the signature program of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH), and is presented in partnership with the National Endwoment for the Arts (NEA), the National Endowment for the Humanintes (NEH), and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). 

The Mariachi Master Apprentice Program is proud to be supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, California Arts Council, and the City of San Fernando.

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