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.
Mar 13, 2014

Thank You for Making Winter a Warmer Experience!

Teachers at Vista Academy
Teachers at Vista Academy

Dear Friend,

This winter you helped Guitars in the Classroom provide musical training, new songs and musical instruments for teachers and children in some chilly places through our micro-project during GlobalGiving's Bonus Matching Day and beyond. Thank you from all of us at GITC for caring about the quality of education and most importantly, for giving preK- through 8th grade students valuable and positive learning and community building experiences in their classrooms.

Not only did you assist us by funding programs in chilly Massachusetts and frozen Michigan, you motored us through the beginning of creating online videos to train teachers at a distance! With your support, videographer Bryan Ingraham and I got the supplies we needed and made the preparations to observe and video tape GITC teaching in programs in the San Diego area. We were joined for videotaping and observations at the Vista Performing Arts Academy by GITC's Director of Education for our board of directors, Dr. Joan Maute. It was great to learn from her experienced perspective of 30 years in the classroom and doing staff and curriculum development! 

While she was in town, Dr. Maute also stopped into one of our classrooms at Sandburg Elementary and conducted a songwriting workshop with 3rd graders. Together, she and the children wrote new verses to Woody Guthrie's "This Land is Your Land" which the students had just learned to play on their ukuleles. She guided students in creating a GITC version of that song to teach primary graders the differences between states, counties and cities. They made many verses celebrating their own and fell in love with playing it. Then, when we were contacted by FOX 5 News asking to come videotape a program, the students shared this song just a week later. That videotape is included in the link below.

So far we have videotaped 15 talented classroom teachers in 4 different elementary schools leading music with their young students. Now these videos are being evaluated, scripted, edited and finished up with a little help from staff and students in the high school media classes at Huntington Beach's Performing Arts Academy. We look forward to sharing them this spring, thanks to you. 

In addition to all this, we were able to begin providing direct instruction in ukulele to 3rd graders as an offshoot of our teacher training model. Our trainer, Bari Zwirn has been meeting with the students every Friday! This work was partially funded by a grant and partially by all of you! It's an honor to serve in new ways with your support.

Thank you so much to each of you for caring, for giving, and for saying YES to musical learning for our children. Your kindness and solidarity with our cause is making a magnificent difference in classrooms every single day.

With infinite gratitude,

Jess

Bari Zwirn and 3rd Graders from Dewey Elementary
Bari Zwirn and 3rd Graders from Dewey Elementary
Teachers in Worcester, Massachusetts
Teachers in Worcester, Massachusetts
Dr. Joan Maute
Dr. Joan Maute

Links:

Mar 3, 2014

Going Uke Crazy at Challenger Middle School!

Challenger Middle School Ukes!
Challenger Middle School Ukes!

Dear Sponsor and Friend,

Thank you so much for helping Guitars in the Classroom bring more joy, energy and engagement to learning in grades K-8. Your gift has been helping child after child become a more musical person while enjoying learning everything from math to social studies. More and more these days, our classes are including hands-on ukuleles for the students to play. They strum to accompany the songs they are composing as a part of learning every subject.

This time, please meet the musical students at Challenger Middle School. Their teacher, Cathy Green has been teaching academics and music, both, and she loves to combine the two. When your donation helped us fund trainings that Cathy could attend, she learned to lead songwriting with her 6th-8th graders and she also learned to play and teach ukulele. At a time when life can be very confusing, her students are positive, involved, and doing well. Some of this is because Cathy's own positive spirit finds expression by bringing music into everything she does in the school.

That is one reason GITC is making a difference in education; because the teachers find a way to be authentic, creative and spontaneous in their teaching through music. This restores in their spirits the passion that originally drove them to become teachers in the first place. And it flies in the face of over-testing and fear of failure that became so rampant in many American classrooms as a result of No Child Left Behind. Singing requires breathing and breathing reduces stress. Strumming is a form of movement, and movement calms the mind. Music is in this way, a kind of natural medicine. Strumming a beautiful chord and singing together begins to change everything.

Thank you for helping GITC make the music possible in the schools. Together, let's make sure more teachers learn to lead so more children have this chance to learn, live and feel better everyday.

With gratitude for all you do,

Jess

Links:

Mar 3, 2014

Music for Preschools in Mississippi and Alabama!

Together we can make a difference!
Together we can make a difference!

Hello, Friend,I am so excited to tell you the latest news. Since you have been helping out GITC, we have been able to really move forward on our work with young children. The gift you gave was part of a massive push to get more music into early childhood and primary grade classrooms.

We recently got some help from a special friend, pianist and guitarist George Winston. He gave our efforts an added boost with a concert on February 12th in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. People came from all over the two states where we are serving to hear George and learn about GITC and the demand for more trainings skyrocketed in a night. More schools signed on, and now we want more than ever to be able to supply everyone with trainings and instruments.

Next week, classes begin for teachers and their children at Leona B. Warren HeadStart, in Mobile, Alabama!  And in another week, we start up at Taconi Head Start in Ocean Springs. We are working on getting something going in Hattiesburg, too.

And up in Worcester, Massachusetts the early childhood educators are rocking and playing slide guitar with trainer Jon Short, writing all kinds of songs for learning. In Lansing, Michigan, they are learning to play guitar and ukulele with trainer Ben Hassenger. In Victorville, they are studying with Marion Davison. And the beat goes on and on.

Thank you for helping us make an enormous difference for children during their most impressionable years when music can help them learn everything with greater ease and joy and set them on a positive path in school. Your love is making up for what so many public schools cannot afford to provide, and would not be able to implement on their own. Innovation takes advocates and you are right here with us, trumpeting the cause of music for learning every day.

With gratitude in my heart for your kindness and solidarity,

Jess

preschool music in MS Head Start
preschool music in MS Head Start

Links:

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