Rhythm Rhyme and Reason comes to Centro San Miguel
By Tim Hazell
Since its inauguration in May 2011, Rhythm, Rhyme and Reason has become a popular option for music outreach in Mexico’s primary schools. The list of teachers who endorse its approach to liberating creative spirits is growing. This year, Pro Musica expanded its program to include Cinco de Mayo in centro San Miguel. This facility caters to over 500 students in grades one to six. The children who attend are among the most needy in the region. Rhythm, Rhyme and Reason, an empowering combination of innovative music teaching and hands-on approaches to playing, has changed the lives of children aged 8 to 13. We transport our program directly to those who need it most 44 weeks a year! Representatives from the headquarters of the Secretaria de Educación Publica in Guanajuato are among its supporters. The classes are and always will be free to the schools.
RR&R uses instruments from Mexico’s ancient past, along with those of world cultures such as ukuleles, marimbas, guitars, and musical bows. Our objectives are to bring creative and cognitive skills that affect everyday lives to children of the entire region! Rhythm, Rhyme and Reason is currently involved in five school programs for the community of Los Ricos, El Nigromante, Atontonilco, Salitrillo and most recently centro San Miguel, bringing the total number of students to 800.
Movement and corporal expression are an important part of our approach to learning enhancement. Los Ricos school director Maria de la Luz Jiménez stresses their fundamental value and says she has been influenced by the RR&R program in her own teaching. She adds, “Regardless of the subject, I now use rhythm and body language.”
Conversations between Pro Musica President Michael Pearl, interdisciplinary artist Tim Hazell and renowned operatic tenor Rodrigo Garciarroyo led to the initial RR&R pilot program in 2011. The venture combined aspects of Venezuela’s “El Sistema,” and Hazell’s original US version of “RR&R.” The children have performed successfully in three innovative concerts so far. This year’s gala performance in Los Frailes achieved a breakthrough because free dental care for the 100 students of the Los Ricos School was pledged and is being implemented by a leading specialist. More events are planned for the future, including a showcase for students in a special celebration of music at the Teatro Angela Peralta this November, featuring an array of renowned musical guests!
Rhythm, Rhyme and Reason is becoming a notable example of a cutting edge approach to music education in the cultural heartland of the State of Guanajuato. We feel that further support can only increase the options. To implement a program in a school with two classes a week throughout the school year costs in the region of US$4,000. At the moment Pro Musica is funding this through the generous support of its Patron Members. With an expanded program there is a need for more patrons or donations specifically to our Education Outreach Program. If you would like to do either, please contact Michael Pearl, President of Pro Musica, at MPearl5493@aol.com for details about Patron Membership or donating directly to RR&R. Please see our website: www.promusicasma.com for full details.
Rhythm, Rhyme and Reason continues to receive glowing recommendations from international educators, philanthropists and scholars. Here is a sampling from letters of endorsement.
“In addition to its mandate for bringing music outreach education to Mexican primary schools, Rhythm, Rhyme and Reason integrates a variety of disciplinary perspectives to the benefit of the children enrolled. The innovative program continues to enrich learning experiences of students and teachers alike.” – Dr. Charlie McCormick, Ph.D., Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Schreiner University, Kerrville, Texas
“India and Mexico are oceans apart, with exceedingly rich and ancient cultures. Our connection is a compassion for the underserved and it has strengthened through our communications. Your concept of chiseling and polishing the personalities of children who benefit from your current educational outreach program ‘Rhythm, Rhyme and Reason’ is unique indeed.” – Dr. Venu Sanon, M.D. (Path), Long Site Clinic, Kuiri Mussoorie, Barloganj, Mussoorie, India.
I wish to convey to you my greatest recognition and the gratitude of the entire educational community of the Los Ricos Abajo school and community; parents, pupils and teachers. Since the music classes began skills have been developed in the lives of the students, noted by the Secretaria de Educación Publica and their public performances have surpassed our expectations. For everything, a thousand thanks” – Professor María de la Luz Jiménez Rodríguez, Teacher and Director of the Los Ricos School.