Music for El Salvador: Sustaining Music in Los Quebrachos
The Salvadoran Ministry of Education recently launched a new initiative in which school days are lengthened to provide more extracurricular activities for students. Centro Escolar Henry Ortiz School offers a wide variety of activities, such as theatre, dance, arts and crafts, gardening, cooking, and the school band, the Estudiantina Escolar. This project will allow the school to pay a part time music instructor and provide the school band with additional instruments, allowing more students to join the band. Since most youth in El Salvador are targets for gang violence, drugs, and dropping out of school, this project is aimed at exposing students to the creative and collaborative nature of music.
Two guitars, a keyboard, a bass, a drum set, a microphone and amplifiers were purchased for the school band. The students have already performed one concert and will continue to play at community events. The school director recently signed a formal contract confirming the continuation of the school band for the next school year.
"This project has served as a motivator for the members of the band, and their reaction has been massively positive. It's given us the autonomy to focus on our music rather than searching for the means to do so." - Melvin, Project Leader
"By engaging them in music we are not only giving them a productive hobby but encouraging them to use music as a creative outlet for the hardships that they experience as youth in El Salvador." - Daniel, Peace Corps Volunteer