Jabari Tovar’ 16 has been recognized as part of Yamaha Music’s 2023 “40 Under 40” for excellence in music education. Selected from hundreds of nominees, Tovar is an instrumental music teacher and percussion specialist in the Salem Public Schools. In addition to being an alumnus of Salem State, he is also an alumnus of the Salem Public Schools.
Yamaha’s “40 Under 40” music education advocacy program was created in 2021 to celebrate and recognize outstanding music educators who are making a difference by growing and strengthening their music programs. These individuals-all under the age of 40, showcase the following characteristics: action (offer innovation and imagination solutions in achieving plans and objectives), courage (propose and implement new or bold ideas), creativity (show innovation and imagination in achieving plans and objectives) and growth (establish, grow or improve music education in their schools and communities).
One of the tenets of Tovar’s teaching philosophy is developing a culturally responsive curriculum. He shares that “I’m fortunate to work in a community as diverse as Salem. Our community is composed of families from many different backgrounds, and a large portion are from the Dominican Republic, so I’ve incorporated traditional songs from there when selecting repertoire.”
Tovar also looks to address unseen obstacles that might prevent a student from participating in the music program. Whether it is noise constraints when practicing at home or a student’s ability to transport instruments to and from school depending on their mode of transportation, he looks for solutions to make the non-performance part of their musical lives easier.
Karen A Gahagan