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.
May 8, 2012

Mother's Day Cards for Preschool Music Making!

Jamie and Angelica at Phoenix Learning Center
Jamie and Angelica at Phoenix Learning Center

Hi, Global Giving Friends,

Happy glorious springtime! Mother's Day is almost here, and in the spirit of motherhood, we want to tell you about a wonderful new development at GITC. More early childhood educators than ever have been asking GITC to help them make music with their three to five year old students!

Early childhood is such a magical time for musical learning, isn't it?

We hope you will find this news very encouraging because this means those little ones getting ready for school are going to begin first grade with music as a part of what they love and how they learn.

Getting a sense of pitch and rhythm before age six is such a gift as it comes at the most essential time in children's development. Musicality and language learning occur in our human brains in the same 2 places and at the same time. So if children have this musical access and learning before age six, they are going to be more able to express themselves verbally and understand language better as well as becoming predisposed to making music well.

Will you please consider helping GITC get some ukuleles into the classrooms of participating teachers so little folks can strum and sing at school? Our friends at Hohner are behind this effort and as long as we can cover the bare bones cost of the ukes and handle the shipping ($25 total for each uke and shipping), we can give pre-schoolers hands on musical experience right away.

GITC set up a special Mother's Day campaign for this project and you can find it right here:

If you like, you can let us know if you'd prefer the uke be given to a program in Michigan, Hawaii, Mississippi, California, Massachussets or Illinois where we are developing our Early Childhood Education model at the present moment. Just drop a line to me at and your ukulele gift will be on its way to your desired destination.

Thank you for considering helping GITC do more for the youngest students.

Warm wishes and special gratitude,


Apr 23, 2012

Share Your Vision for GITC in 2012-13

Dear Friends,

Thank you for your kindness to children with your gifts to GITC in the past school year . You have chosen to fund free teacher training in music integration so these kids could become more musical people and more successful students academically and socially.  The young lives you are changing are evidenced in the photos below taken in the classroom of Mrs. Patricia Bertram, third grade teacher at Sandburg Elementary School in Mira Mesa, California.

Patty is a veteran teacher who'd never learned a note of music before she came to GITC. Her specialties in teaching are Math and Science, but when music went out of her school for children in the lower grades, it troubled her enough to do something about it right away. Following the wisdom of The Power of One, she bravely signed up for a free GITC class given in San Diego Unified School District.This year, your gifts have helped make that class a reality.

Patty has continued learning to sing, play, lead, and write songs, and to share music with her students, and this year she has taken a huge step forward. We hope other GITC teachers will follow her example.

Through sheer determination and resourcefulness, Patty gathered enough guitars so every child in her classroom gets to play! Some came from yard sales. Others she got on a grant she wrote. And some came on loan from GITC. In addition, GITC has supplied the strings, straps, picks, capos, and tender loving care to help Patty lead collaborative songwriting for learning with her students and wow do they love the experience!

Patty's classroom is a cross-section of middle and working class America. Her students come from families with diverse heritages. Some parents speak very little English, others are talented English speakers and fluent writers. Some never finished 8th grade, others hold advanced degrees. Some are performing menial jobs, others are working in trades, and some are professionals. Some of Patty's students live in cramped conditions, others have their own bedrooms. Some have special challenges in the classroom and music making helps them center, focus, and produce excellent work. Some are studious and have excellent self control, and for them, making music is a release, a chance for free self expression. These students as a group embody the diverse needs of children today.

Not every school and classroom is like Sandburg Elementary. Many schools represent less diverse populations ethnically, socio-economically, academically, and more. Sometimes we have to choose what sort of program to offer because specific needs prevail and our resources are very limited. This means setting priorities.

We are inviting YOU to help us do this for the coming school year. Your voice added to this choir will help GITC become a true reflection of our community.

Please join us by sharing your values, hopes and goals for our work by taking this short survey:

To say thank you, we will send 5 special GITC guitar picks from Dunlop to anyone who takes the survey and sends their mailing address to

We will also award a tube of Guitar Hands Cleansing Lotion to the 12th, 24th, and 48th survey takers!

Thank you for considering sharing your ideas and vision with us and thanks for taking a moment to look at the wonder you are creating in America classrooms today.

Peace, blessings, and thanks for being a contributor,


Jessica Anne Baron

Founder, Executive Director

These girls are learning so much through music!
These girls are learning so much through music!
These boys are getting creating TOGETHER!
These boys are getting creating TOGETHER!
Music stirs this child
Music stirs this child's soul...
Having so much fun!
Having so much fun!
Music helps her get in touch
Music helps her get in touch


Mar 13, 2012

Change Education & GlobalGiving will help Wednesday!

Meet Scott who has repaired the guitars
Meet Scott who has repaired the guitars

Dear Friend,

Wednesday, March 14th is a special day for people who care about education and like the work of Guitars in the Classroom, namely YOU! During GlobalGiving’s spring Bonus Day this week, your gift will go 30% farther! GlobalGiving will match every donation up to $1,000 per donor, per project. To sweeten the offer to donors and charities, GlobalGiving will also reward $1,000 to the project that gathers the biggest total donation amount, and also to the project with the most unique donors. You can make sure many more children have access to music at school when you donate to GITC  this week on WEDNESDAY. Please be with us in support of this special cause!

Here is a report about what your kindness so far is making possible in South Carolina.

The beginning of this month was full of surprise; when teachers on Hilton Head Island responded in droves to the offer of free music integration training, we suddenly found ourselves in need of 31 guitars! What to do?

We called Connie Christy, a trainer in our long-ago program up in Aynor, South Carolina and asked for help, knowing the beautiful Godins and Hagstrom guitars we’d loaned teachers were still in use in the schools after eight years.

We realized that most of them would need some work after 8 years, but when our dedicated faculty teamed up to retrieve those guitars and others from our program in Columbia, SC, we discovered that some had been badly mistreated by rambunctious middle schoolers when their teacher was out sick. Now we had a special problem 23 guitars needed help to one extent or another… and we had 1 week to make it happen. Classes were full and scheduled to begin on March 6.

Rolling up her sleeves and going without enough sleep, newest GITC faculty member Dr. Joan Maute rented a van, took to the road, and drove to Columbia where she was met by principal Sally Catoe, leader of the GITC program there, and Ms. Christy who had retrieved 18 instruments from the local schools in Aynor and driven them there herself, taking a day off work to make this happen quickly. Sally found 13 guitars she also could spare, and Joan hit the road back to Hilton Head that night, her van heavy with instruments in need of love.

Assessing the state of the instruments was tough. Joan and our executive director, Jessica Baron took stock together of the situation and made contingency plans. Next morning, Joan hauled the wounded warrior guitars off to John’s Music where expert repairmen John and Scott got to work rehabilitating the instruments. Some were missing parts such as bridge pins and end pins. One had lost its nut and another its saddle . Several had cracks in their tops. But thanks to the tireless and generous work of Janet and Robert Godin, a care package of needed parts went into the mail next day from the factory in Canada. By the time the part arrived, John and Scott, who had been working around the clock to clean, polish, set up, adjust, and restring this flock of guitars were ready to help the last of the instruments recover.  

Guitars in the Classroom opened its doors to the teachers and volunteers of Hilton Head Island right on time, and everyone got the instrument they needed. In fact, Joan Maute had opened her home during the previous week-end so any teacher wanting to find just the right guitar could do so in a leisurely and comfortable way! We have never in 12 years seen this kind of personal touch given to the guitar loan process and Joan’s care for her students is beyond exemplary.

GITC would really like to thank this whole team- the trainers and the guitar builders and repairmen (luthiers); their voluntary dedication is utterly priceless and the children of Hilton Head Island will be singing to learn and also singing their praises for years to come as a result! This is what we mean when we say “Together we can make a difference!” Thank you for being an important part of the magic!

Please help GITC keep these programs growing and going around the country. Every day we are grateful for the miracles your kindness about. On Wednesday, let’s do it again! Please donate here:

 We are really excited to announce that rising country star Tamaray has chosen GITC as her education charity! This talented young woman is a wonderful guitar player and singer who is planning to perform free concerts for GITC schools in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and South Carolina in the weeks and months ahead.  Her first stop is in Hilton Head!

Through her music, she will pass along a message of encouragement to the children living on the Gulf Coast and in affected southern states, spreading the joy and benefits of making music together wherever she goes.

Tamaray’s voice is often compared to music legends such as Reba McEntire or Dolly Parton and her music to Miranda Lambert.  To hear Tamaray’s music and for more information, please visit her website: and her facebook page:

Thank you for reading about the developments in South Carolina and for sharing the success and happiness this work is already bringing to students there.  You will love the feeling you get when you make a contribution this Wednesday, knowing how many kids your charity will touch!  Your help is so crucial to the work of this organization, and is very much appreciated.

Wishing you an inspirational week, thank you for joining us in continuing to create change and excellence in our nation’s schools.

With deep gratitude,

Jessica Baron,
Executive Director

Meet Joan, Connie, and Sally from GITC S Carolina
Meet Joan, Connie, and Sally from GITC S Carolina
Joan is driving the guitars to their new home
Joan is driving the guitars to their new home
John's emergency room


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