Guitars in the Classroom

Since 1998, Guitars in the Classroom (GITC) has been inspiring, training and equipping classroom teachers to integrate music making across the academic curriculum through "song-based instruction" so students of all ages have educational, musical access & opportunity at school every day. Our work prepares educators to lead music, employing it as a dynamic tool for reaching all learners, teaching all subjects, and building character, creativity and community.Programs & materials are free.
Dec 31, 2014

Thank you for an Autumn of Musical Learning!

Guitar at the Fernando Pullum Community Arts Cente
Guitar at the Fernando Pullum Community Arts Cente

Happy New Year, GITC Music Giver!

As 2015 begins, all of us working to bring music to learning across the curriculum with GITC want to thank you for a magnificent opening few months of school and a successful 2014!

This past fall thanks to each one of you, Guitars in the Classroom has been able to bring learning to life for children from Vermont, Massachusetts and Virginia, down the eastern seaboard through South Carolina, into the Gulf Coast region, through Michigan and clear across the country to California...then out into the Pacific Ocean to Hawaii! Your charity is making this progress and joy possible truly all over our nation as well as in parts of Canada! Teachers in Ontario continue to lead songs for learning and we are working on a pilot program now with leadership from Robert and Janet Godin in their city of Quebec. Music is ubiquitous, universal, and children benefit from singing to learn everywhere. Thanks to everyone here, the power of music is lighting up classrooms in so many places this school year.

This fall, you gave us the "fuel" to get instruments into the hands of teachers and children in classrooms in public schools that long ago lost their elementary music classes - and this feels like a miracle to kids who want so much to get the chance to learn. Teachers like Patrice Maller at Silvergate Elementary in San Diego learned to play and lead songs with GITC last summer. Now her student are writing songs regularly and playing them, too. You can read about that at our website. So are the children in Joey Sutera's class in Santee, California and you can see the joy on their faces in the photo below!  Children at the Fernando Pullum Community Arts Center in the heart of South Central Los Angeles are learning to play guitar, too thanks to donor Jim O'Brien, here at Global Giving. And this year, on Maui, teachers at the Pomaika'i Elementary School worked with their students to write and perform songs about the water cycle on their island and about marine life!  These students have not had any formal music education but this year, their teachers are introducing ukuIele and guitars thanks to you.

I hope you'll take a moment to look at these photos and really see the spark your giving has lit for these young people and their teachers. Then consider what their lives would be like if you had not given a donation.

In these challenging financial times, with your contribution, GITC has been filling a critical gap for children who need upliftment, positive engagement and creative learnng through the arts! By helping their classroom teachers intelligently integrate hands-on musical experiences as a part of learning math, science, social studies, English and so much more, you are creating lasting change in the schools. Once a teacher learns to do this work, they have the skills for life! We are also working hard to support the return of music education to these schools and this fall even began training music teachers in Los Angeles Unified Schools to lead the way. These are exciting, hopeful times.

Together, we are collaborating on developing new understandings and materials for teachers that highlight the science of music, the math and patterning of composition, the acquisition of key reading strategies through songwriting and reading lyrics! In Oxnard, CA, students who are new to America and learning to speak and read in English through songs, singing and songwriting. In Burlington, Vermont, the students have been learning American history through song. In Boston, Massachusetts, the children are singing about their futures and how to aim high. In San Diego, they are singing about the order of operations, skip counting and garden science. All this music is because we are innovating in your name.

Please donate again if you love this cause and help us do more. At GITC, we know that one day, some of the children we reach in 2015 who are unable to read now will successfully graduate high school because we do this work together. Some will become musicians, es, and others will be creative thinkers in every field... and all will be able to pass the love of music and the body of traditional folk songs on to their own children.

Thank you for all you have made possible in 2014! One classroom at a time, we are making education better. Let's keep going.

With appreciation and gratitude,

Jess

Joey Sutera
Joey Sutera's Class
Susan Tu
Susan Tu's class in Burlington, VT
GITC at Luther Burbank Elementary in San Diego
GITC at Luther Burbank Elementary in San Diego
Teachers practice water songs at Pomaikai
Teachers practice water songs at Pomaikai

Links:

Dec 23, 2014

Thank You for Bringing Music to Special Students!

Even with CP, Stevie can play!
Even with CP, Stevie can play!

This fall, thanks to you, there are many students who have special needs including autism, downs syndrome, emotional disturbance, post traumatic stress disorder and a host of social/emotional issues who are learning in school through music! Your gift has helped children we refrain from naming out of respect for their privacy to develop a way to join their same-aged peers in learning in regular classrooms during integrated music for the first time! We have also trained teachers working with isolated groups of children in special education to use singing and ukulele strumming to engage, calm, redirect and connect their students into appropriate social conduct and participation in lessons.

"Juan" has discovered he can do second grade level math because counting the number of beats in music in groups of four has helped him learn to add. If he stamps, claps and counts beats out loud, he succeeds. He has gone from sitting still, staring at his empty white board to filling it with an accurate number line! For a child who is reading at a kindergarten level in second grade, this rhythm and song combination has made a breakthrough that his teacher can now transfer over to learning English with physical movement, sign language and dance. He loves to strum a ukulele; too.

"Jenny" has stopped distracting and verbally assaulting other children with impulsive outbursts during English Language Arts instruction because she loves the sound of singing. Rather than being sent out of the room, to the principal or school counselor, she is learning to control her impulses so she can sing! Her teacher is using "Mary Had a Little Lamb" to teach students to write and sing their own story songs with beginnings, middles and endings. Jenny contributes like everyone else now. She would do anything to be allowed to stay, even own and apologize to other children for her aggressive behavior which is truly much better now.

"Tyrone" began this year in a real depression, unable to lift his head off his desk. He has moved 7 times in 3 years, constantly missing school and relocating because of "family problems." He has a severe learning disability profile including dyslexia. But when given a chance to participate in songwriting about people his classmates admire, he was able to engage and contribute facts about Michael Jordan, someone he really looks up to. Songwriting is not visual, it's oral/verbal and children hear their own ideas validated and sung back to them by their classmates. Tyrone is doing a lot better now.

The stories go on and on... so please know it is very important that you gave to this project and have helped teachers begin to change the way they are reaching and successfully engaging their students in positive learning! We cannot do this work without you and we encourage you to stay with us in the new year ahead!

Teachers in San Diego include Special Educators!
Teachers in San Diego include Special Educators!

Links:

Oct 13, 2014

Thank You for Helping Us Reach the Children

Fernando Pullum Center Students October 2014
Fernando Pullum Center Students October 2014

Dear Friends,

These are important weeks for students as they are adjusting to school and beginning to develop new relationships and good work habits in their new classrooms. Teachers are so grateful for the help, tools and inspiration you are enabling us to provide for them and the children through GITC's free musical training and instrument donation program. So many classrooms are overcrowded right now. Teachers find themselves handling a huge number of children with high needs. Bringing music into classrooms in transition can shift the whole school day. The right song calms anxieties, brings children together, creates focus and good listening, and eases students into learning with joy. Add songwriting for learning lessons and you have a happy classroom despite the challenges! Thank you for helping us to make this possible. We need you now more than ever as demands for our services are rolling in every single day.

Did you know that each teacher who trains with us receives a ukulele to keep and a guitar to borrow long term at no charge? They also receive over $100 worth of musical supplies to help them lead songs for learning in their classrooms. None of this would be possible without YOU and our sponsors. This is true community participation and change in action!

Your gift to Guitars in the Classroom gives us the resources we need to track down the precious instruments and supplies, get them shipped to schools, sometimes all the way across the country, and to staff our free programs. That is some pretty heavy lifting. You and our on-the-ground volunteers are moving mountains of musical instruments. Anthony Tinelli, Ariel Solana, Francesca Ashcroft and Sydney Baroy are here handling the boxes, the tuning, the inventorying and delivery of guitars and ukes every week. You can see Anthony and Ariel in a photo with this report.

You help us with everything- from covering crucial, nitty gritty expenses such as paper, toner and stamps to the necessary program insurance required by school districts, and above all else, wages to pay the people who train the teachers, our extraordinary faculty members.These folks are the kindest, most grounded yet creative people you would ever want to meet. They think of teachers as great lights who spark each young mind, heart and spirit entrusted to their care everyday. They make passing the musical skills and traditions on to these teachers their personal missions. They place the instruments in their hands, visit their classrooms, send them songs for teaching everything imaginable, go to their school concerts, write them notes when they get sick. Our trainers are really present and connected and we are so grateful they stay with us over the years.

While a handful of GITC trainers choose to volunteer their services, almost everyone is paid... not just a barely passable teaching wage but one they can feel good about. This is so important. Music teachers in schools are chronically underpaid if they have jobs at all anymore. With years of training and experience, many choose to work for fewer dollars than others and to settle for part time work as the result of budget cuts. They would rather do this than change jobs because they see how their ability to bring the music into children's lives is shaping them as human beings and helping them thrive in school. Many other nonprofits even ask their music specialists to volunteer their time. But we know they have mouths to feed, too. You are helping these very deserving people keep going through their roles in our organization.

This fall, we are providing free training and instruments to Title I (low income) schools, teachers and students in Vermont, Michigan, Massachusetts, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, Illinois and California, thanks to you.This includes our work at Burbank Elementary School in Logan Heights, San Diego, a school designated this fall as a Turnaround Arts school by the President's Committee for Arts and Humanities. Bringing music to this school  whose population faces staggering challenges to survival and whose students need a great deal of help learning to read is our honor this fall and for the next three years. We ask you to join us to continue this important effort by donating to GITC next Wednesday on Bonus Matching Day!

We want to express immense gratitude to sponsor Don Oriolo and his Felix the Guitars and to the team at SAGA Musical Instruments and Rick Carlson KALA Brand Music Company for working closely with us to make sure every teacher has instruments for his or her classroom!  We thank Art Harvey and Onboard Research for helping us provide tuners for the instruments to our fledgling music leaders, Peter D'Addario of D'Addario Strings for making sure everyone can strum, Jasmin Powell at Dunlop Manufacturing for providing picks that spare fingers and capos that bring songs up to the keys best for children's sweet voices, and Janet and Robert Godin of Godin Guitars for always helping with beautiful guitars, guidance and ingenuity! (They also send us special "lefty" guitars for all our southpaw teachers!) The attached photos show you just how much these companies are essential members of the GITC village that is raising 20,000 musical children this fall!

Please enjoy the photos from our programs this fall, know how much I appreciate what you have done to make great things to make them possible.... and please, please, please mark your calendars for this coming Wednesday when your gifts can go farther and make a vital difference in the lives of so many children.

Thank you for caring and joining us on behalf of the children and the future of music,

Jess

Genevieve Hammond and her Felix the Cat Guitar in
Genevieve Hammond and her Felix the Cat Guitar in
Preschool & Head Start Teachers in San Diego Unifi
Preschool & Head Start Teachers in San Diego Unifi
GITC in Santee, CA
GITC in Santee, CA
Anthony and Ariel Rock the Guitar Inventory
Anthony and Ariel Rock the Guitar Inventory

Links:

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