World music San Diego schools elementary
Fourth graders get a taste of percussion, mixed with lessons in history culture. Photo credit: Courtesy, VAPA Foundation

Nonprofit partners are bringing culturally relevant music residencies to fourth graders at seven elementary schools in the San Diego Unified School District

With support from a California Arts Council education program that places artists in schools, the VAPA Foundation and the Center for World Music has provided support to give each fourth-grade class 12 visits from a teaching artist.

Students will sing, play instruments, use music vocabulary, collaborate with their peers and analyze auditory examples as they explore the geography, history, culture, language and traditions of Mexico, Cuba and/or Brazil. 

Claudia Lyra, founder of the Brazilian Portuguese and Arts Programs, teaches folk music and movement from Brazil. Luisa Corredor and Ignacio Arango teach songs from Latin America and Silvio Diaz teaches Latin American percussion. 

The seven schools were selected based on their status on the distressed community index, and their high population of Latino students. They are: 

  • Balboa Elementary in Shelltown 
  • Central Elementary in Teralta West
  • Chavez Elementary in Southcrest
  • Chollas/Mead Elementary in Chollas View 
  • Joyner Elementary in City Heights
  • Kimbrough Elementary in Grant Hill 
  • Rodriguez Elementary in Memorial 

The grant from the California Arts Council also covers residencies at the same schools with a new group of fourth graders next year. 

The VAPA Foundation is a local San Diego nonprofit with the mission of increasing access to and enhancing the quality of arts education in SDUSD. It has served 105,793 students and supported 260 teachers.