TAMIU's Dr. Soto Consulting on Text on Music Education for Hispanic Children

A Texas A&M International University faculty member's expertise in the area of music education for Hispanic children will figure prominently in a new music textbook series to be available nationwide.

Dr. Gilberto D. Soto, TAMIU associate professor of music and chair of the Department of Fine and Performing Arts, has recently signed a contract with publisher Macmillan/ McGraw-Hill Company, with Dr. Soto serving as the company's consultant for its music textbook series, 'Share the Music,' designed for 1st to 8th grade students throughout the country. (photo)

Soto's role will be to review, approve and provide recommendations for the series' sections on Hispanic music. He will also analyze educational components in these sections and determine if the songs and exercises featured are relevant to today's Hispanic children.

The announcement, coming at the start of Hispanic Heritage Month, underscores the daily contributions TAMIU faculty members make to the Latino community.

"This is a great opportunity because for many years, I have researched the music education of Hispanic children and this subject was the focus of my doctoral dissertation. Over the years, I have made numerous presentations and published findings and I look forward to giving recommendations on the methodologies to improve music education for Hispanic children in the United States," Soto explained.

"Share the Music' is a series of nine books and features music lessons that address different learning objectives. It will include songs, as well as lessons on instruments and concepts such as movement, form, dynamics, phrasing, listening and rhythm. Books in the series will first be distributed in Texas at the end of 2004 and in California at the end of 2006. They will also be available nationwide, Soto said.

"They (Macmillan/McGraw-Hill Company) are aware of the rapid growth of the Hispanic population in the country and want to make sure that the kinds of music and styles featured in the book are relevant to the Hispanic American community," Soto said.

In addition to working on the series, Macmillan/McGraw-Hill also appointed Soto to lead a committee that will compile a music book for pre-kindergarten and kindergarten children. He will also write a supplemental booklet of Hispanic music songs for children in kindergarten to second grade.

Soto holds both his doctoral degree in music education and a master's degree in guitar performance from the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Miss. His bachelor's degree in music education was earned at Abilene Christian University in Abilene, Texas. He also holds a bachelor's degree in education from the Universidad Autónoma del Noreste in Torreón, Mexico.

A member of the TAMIU faculty since 2001, he has previously held faculty positions at Laredo Community College, the Vidal M. Treviño Magnet School and Hinds Community College in Jackson, Mississippi.

Soto is the winner of numerous awards including the 1997 "Heritage Award" for the preservation of folklore, customs and traditions and 1993 and 1994 "Literacy Star Awards," sponsored by the Literacy Volunteers of America. In 1992, he was invited to perform classical guitar at the White House in Washington, D.C. In 1991, he performed for Presidents George Bush and Carlos Salinas de Gortari of Mexico. He has also been named "Educator of the Year" by the Laredo Chamber of Commerce.

For further information, please contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at 326-2183, e-mail pais@tamiu.edu or visit offices located in the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library, room 268.

University office hours are 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at pais@tamiu.edu