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About the Event

Presenters: Ramon Rivera, Tito Talamantes, Jaimie Abney-Giraldo, Alexandra Franco, Scott Glasser

Facilitator: Beau Garza, NAfME Council for Orchestral Education

Mariachi is a path to reach students who don’t typically sign up for traditional music ensembles. In this webinar, teachers with successful Mariachi programs share advice and reflect on the benefits to their communities. In addition to the nuts and bolts of starting a new ensemble, the panelists will discuss reading and engaging your community, the importance of family, and how to avoid cultural appropriation.

Ramon RiveraRamon Rivera serves as the Director of Mariachi in the Mount Vernon School District in Mount Vernon, Washington. He has shared his expertise through classes and workshops throughout the United States, and he has received many awards, such as the Washington State Golden Apple Award, Seattle Seahawks Latino Leader of the Year, and the CMA Foundation Music National Teacher of Excellence. Ramon’s school Mariachi group has performed for renowned figures such as Garth Brooks, George Lopez, Pepe Aguilar, and Mariachi Sol de Mexico. He was also named the Washington State Music Teacher of the Year in 2023.

Luis talamantesLuis “Tito” Talamantes has taught 5th through 12th grade Mariachi in the Stockton Unified School District since 2014. His ensembles have been invited to the White House (2016) and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (2018), performed for Motown singer-songwriter Smokey Robinson, have placed in many national competitions, and opened for comedian George Lopez. Tito also directs Mariachi Ocelotlan at the University of the Pacific’s Conservatory of Music in Stockton, California, and the University of California in Davis’s Mariachi. A composer of Mariachi and marching band, his music has been placed in the Swiss short film L’Artificier.

Jaimie Abney-Giraldo Jaimie Abney-Giraldo became the Fine Arts Coordinator for School District U-46 in Elgin, Illinois, in 2017 after serving as a building-level administrator, a band teacher, and a Mariachi instructor. She holds a Bachelor of Music Education from Illinois State University and a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership from Concordia University Chicago.  She will begin coursework for a DMA in music education through Boston University in fall 2024. Jaimie helped to establish and build the Mariachi education program in her district in 2009 and has shared her expertise through extensive writing and teacher training. Her school district will be hosting the first-ever ILMEA Mariachi Festival in spring 2025.

Alexandra FrancoAlexandra Franco grew up in San Antonio, Texas, and currently lives in the small town of Payson, Utah. She is the band director at Mt. Nebo Middle School and co-teaches Mariachi classes with school choir director Tiffany Jacobson. As a young adult she spent time living in Southern California, where she learned Spanish and served the Latinx community. After returning to Utah to finish her degree at Brigham Young University, she met and married her husband Jose, who is from Guanajuato, Mexico. Much of Alexandra’s life outside of teaching includes traveling often to Mexico, serving in a Spanish church congregation, and assisting with her husband’s career in Spanish religious education. Teaching Mariachi is just one way she is passionate about building bridges between our communities.

Scott GlasserScott Glasser joined Arizona State University as Faculty Associate for Mariachi in 2022 after serving as Director of Orchestras & Mariachi at Marcos de Niza High School in Tempe, Arizona. He received the O.M. Hartsell Excellence in Music Teaching Award from the Arizona Music Educators Association in 2023. He completed both his undergraduate and graduate coursework in music education at the State University of New York in Fredonia and is currently a doctoral candidate in Music Learning & Teaching at Arizona State University. Scott is first violinist for the Aletheia String Quartet, an ensemble of music educators dedicated to serving and giving back to the community through its Homestead Concert Series.

Beau GarzaBrigido “Beau” S. Garza graduated from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, where he studied viola, was part of the first Texas Tech String Project, and received a master’s degree in music education in 2023. He taught at Alamo Junior High School in Midland and Nimitz Junior High School in Odessa, Texas, before becoming the Assistant Orchestra Director at Midland Lee High School and the Head Director at Lee Freshman High School in Midland, Texas. He became Director of Orchestras at Midland Lee High School, now Legacy High School, in 2010 and serves as an adjunct professor of music education at the University of Texas at the Permian Basin.

NAfME presents this live virtual event at no charge to all as a service to the music education profession. To register, you must enter your NAfME member information or create a nonmember account. After registering, check your email for instructions. A recording of this program will be available to all registrants for one week following the live event. Members can also view archived NAfME webinars in the NAfME Academy. The views expressed are those of the presenter; they do not necessarily reflect the views of NAfME.

April 2024 Teaching Music

Start Date

April 23, 2024

End Date

April 23, 2024

Start and End Time

7:00 pm - 8:00 pm (ET)


  • Innovation

Event Category

  • Live Virtual
  • Webinar


  • Instrumental
  • Mariachi

Teaching Levels

  • College/University
  • Junior/Middle School
  • Senior High School

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