We have a lot of projects for the future: we want to expand the music school in order to admit more children, to award more scholarships to the students who want to get a more advanced musical education at the Conservatory, to transfer the skills needed to restore the instruments, to hire more teachers and most of all, in due time, to allow the Escuela de Iniciación musical Santa Cecilia to become entirely self-sufficient.
Expanding the Music School
In January 2018, we bought the lot next to the school because we wanted to expand the facilities. This is where the new classrooms and rehearsal rooms will be built. There will also be a big workshop that will integrate all the repairs of wind and string instruments. According to the funds that we will be able to collect, building work should proceed during 2019.
Developing our two workshops for instrument repair
In order to guarantee a long life for the instruments, it was crucial to be able to create a workshop where they could be repaired on site. We awarded Paty, a young woman of 26 who hails from the neighbourhood, a scholarship to go and study for a year in France (during the 2014-15 school year), and she is now responsible for the wind section of this workshop.
We are now looking to train two luthiers and bow specialists for the string instruments. For this new project, we have the support of the Belgian association «Luthiers sans frontières» (“Luthiers without borders”). Since 2016, nine luthier training courses have taken place in Oaxaca with professionals that came from Europe. Two youngsters have been selected: Elia followed a 7-month training course in Belgium in 2017 at a luthier’s workshop, and Fredi is following practical training in Paris for a year in 2018-19.
The capacities of our luthiers-repair specialists are essential to the autonomy of the music school: on one hand, our instruments can rely on a regular and quality maintenance, and on the other hand, when musicians from the outside entrust us their instruments for repair, it generates a source of income that is beneficial to the whole school-workshop system.
Welcoming all the children who want to join the Banda
The children who want to attend the music lessons contribute with 12 pesos by lesson (50 euro cents), that is 60 pesos a week (3€). This guarantees the school relative financial autonomy, as it meets the needs for light material, electricity and part of the teachers’ salaries. Sometimes, even this is too high a cost for the poorest families, and we award them scholarships so that no child who is willing to learn is left without music practice.
Scholarships for the students who want to go further
Among the musicians of the Banda, there are some talented students who want to continue studying music at the Conservatory. We award them a scholarship to help them make their dream come true. At the start of the 2015 school year, Erik (saxophone) and Octavio (percussions) have entered the CECAM Conservatory of music for a 3-year cycle. Since then, two other candidates have joined them: Gustavo (trombone) and Florida (clarinet). In September of 2017, Carlos (oboe) and Agni (trombone) have been admitted to the Oaxaca Conservatory of Fine Arts. In 2018, Carlos, who started studying music with us, has signed a work contract as second oboe with the Symphony Orchestra of the city, and he was only 15!