City of San Fernando’s Mariachi Master-Apprentice Program

Mexican mariachi music

The City of San Fernando, in partnership with several local institutions, brings a project of professional mentorship, musical enrichment, and cultural expression to its community.  With the collaborated efforts of the Los Angeles Unified School District; Ballet Folklorico Ollin; California State University, Northridge Department of Chicano Studies; and La Voz del Mariachi, San Fernando and world-renowned mariachi musician, Nati Cano, and his Mariachi Los Camperos present the Mariachi Master-Apprentice Program.

This program unites world-class mariachi masters with community youth ages 10-18 who are ready to advance their skills as mariachi musicians.  Weekly sessions provide professional instrumental technique development, vocal coaching, music theory education, and performance etiquette, while enhancing repertoire that emphasizes the traditional and popular mariachi music forms, including sones, rancheras, huapangos, boleros, and polkas.  Training focuses on the core of musical instruments traditional to the mariachi ensemble: guitarrón, vihuela, guitar, harp, violin, and trumpet.

Through the Mariachi Master-Apprentice Program, the City of San Fernando aims to carry-on the mariachi tradition by targeting promising youth that strive for musical excellence.  The program is designed to transcend the basics, shaping ambitious youth that have the potential to become masters in their own right. MMAP’s vision is that these apprentices may then serve to further develop this valuable musical tradition in the San Fernando community and beyond.

In 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2007, and 2006 the City of San Fernando received a grant from ACTA’s Living Cultures Grants Program to support the Mariachi Master-Apprentice Program.


A multi-year Living Cultures grantee, the City of San Fernando's Mariachi Master-Apprentice Program aims to carry-on the mariachi tradition by targeting promising youth that strive for musical excellence. Here, members of Mariachi Tesoro, the program's advanced group, perform in 2012. Photo: Abel Gutierrez

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