Hello Global Giving Friends,
Let's start out 2012 with some great news! This month, artist advocates Laurence Juber and John Cruz, both GRAMMY winners, are stepping into the spotlight, where....? On elementary school stages, to bring live acoustic artistry to students free of charge. With the drastic budget cuts to the arts in our schools, these performances are extremely precious gifts, and GITC is very fortunate to have the support of these great artists who are donating their time to bring the music to GITC schools.
Last week, in Brooklyn at PS 230, Laurence Juber gave two spellbinding performances to raptly attentive elementary students while he was in the city to perform at Iridium Jazz Club. He and GITC emisary Christiane Cook drove out to Brooklyn to spend the morning making music with the teachers and students at what is also known as Doris L. Cohen Elementary. GITC trainer Dan Loomis was on hand as well, in addition to James Williamson who was GITC's first passionate advocate for bringing our work to the public schools in NYC. This was a downright "tribal" event with teachers strumming along and everyone singing.
In case you are unfamiliar, Laurence Juber is not a sing-along artist. He is the premiere fingerstyle guitarist in our midst, formerly of Paul McCartney's band Wings, and his music, much to the delight of the children, is featured in a movie most have actually seen- The Muppet Movie. Please can check him out at the attached website link if you like. He helped me found GITC 12 years ago, and has been donating his time and talent ever since in so many ways from good advice to free benefit concerts and also these special school performances.
This week, Hawaiian artist John Cruz begins his California tour in San Diego and working his way up the coast. John, whose music has achieved huge fame in Hawaii and has made it to hit status on American airwaves, will be playing in elementary schools all along his route, from San Diego and Encinitas, north to Oxnard, Santa Cruz, Watsonville, and Oakland. His tireless efforts to reach out to children with his passion for making music and living creatively is certain to touch many hearts and inspire lots of creative thinking.
Thank you for supporting our work and making the programs in all these elementary schools possible. The teachers are excited to play with such accomplished artists, and when their students see them onstage with the likes of Laurence and John, their admiration for their teachers absolutely soars.
Laurence, at my behest, created a packet to distribute to students before his assemblies so they could learn about him and his career before hearing him play. He did such a fine job that I have attached it FYI. We are asking every GITC artist to do the same so children can learn about their geography and journey in the arts. This is real live music integration!
Wishing you all a splendid rest of the month, and thanks for reading and caring about this cause.
Thank you so very much for helping Guitars in the Classroom to train teachers to lead musically enriched lessons in their regular K-8 classrooms in 2011. Together we have helped them bring creativity, success, and hope for the future to students around the nation. As you express your love of music through your charitable contribution, you empower others to discover music's power, beauty, and healing properties as well as its capacity to help children learn and grow. All of us at GITC are immensely grateful to share your conviction and give it a place to grow.
Now as the work gathers strength & academic impact, the need for music in the schools is burgeoning as the result of budget cuts to education and the arts. Your gifts here on Global Giving are mattering more than ever before
This coming year, in addition to reaching preschoolers, and students with special needs, also those learning English as a second language and children at risk in Title I schools, your contribution will empower GITC to provide guitars and support music programs in neighborhood YMCAs, reaching more kids after school. GITC can do this now because you have been with us all the way!
Wishing you a New Year of true peace, health, and happiness! Let's get 2012 started out right. If you wish to make an end-of year contribution, we invite you to visit our Holiday Tribute Card campaign right here on Global Giving!
With immeasurable thanks for your empathy and partnership,
Because of YOU, classes for teachers of children at risk are now beginning in communities with tremendous need this month.
Thanks to your gift to Guitars in the Classroom, thousands of students are beginning to learn through music in Victorville, California, in Oceanside, California, on Oahu, Hawaii, in Lee, Massachusetts, and in Phoenix, Arizona beginning in October. This Wednesday the 19th is GlobalGiving's bonus matching day. Whatever you give on Wednesday is going to do twice as much good. A gift of absolutely any amount will matter twice as much.
So please allow me to encourage you to take a moment right now to imagine the sheer joy that is about to flourish in the hearts of impoverished children this month when a most surprising thing happens- their teacher brings out a guitar and says, "Children, I am just learning to play so I hope you will join me in singing a song today."
Please imagine this in a classroom where not enough money in the school budget exists to buy the most basic supplies- paper and pencils. Where that teacher must teach every subject including physical education because all the specialist positions have been eliminated. Where the library is barely staffed and there is no counselor for the children save the one that administers tests all over the district and cannot stop to talk. Where there is no school nurse. Where there are 32-48 students stuffed into classrooms that once held 20 students. Now imagine that guitar and that teacher inviting everyone to sing and you will know what relief, hope, and joy you are empowering GITC to create.
In the high desert region of California, some families are barely subsisting and others are homeless, living in encampments without running water or electricity. Their children come to school exhausted without enough food in their bellies to keep focus. In Oceanside, home of Camp Pendelton, hundred of kids say good-bye to one or both of their parents for months at a time as they are deployed for service in Iraq. These children feel such stress. They are hungry in ways only children whose parents go to war know. In Hawaii, many of the students are living in real poverty. In the previous school year, the state set 17 furlough dates- no school every other Friday. No money to pay the teachers.
This is where your dollars are being spent this fall. On kids for whom music is more than a pleasure- it is a life line to learning, to hope, to happiness, a reason to wake up and come to school. A way to simply connect. Lessons they receive through music give them a time when troubles are forgotten and the happiness can fill their souls.
Wednesday of this week is a MATCHING Bonus Giving Day at GlobalGiving. If you give to GITC then, GlobalGiving will do the same. Please help us reach many more these children with music, love, and learning. Please give now so your gift allows us to do twice the work on your behalf. We are all the same here, working toward this cause together- I am so personally grateful that you care, and I hope our work gives you a deep sense of pride.
With warm wishes that you will receive many times over the love you give to others,
Dear Friend of Making Music,
Guitars in the Classroom would like to invite you to make music with us! For free! Online!
Just as is true for teachers and school staff who learn to play with GITC, you do not need to have any previous musical experience. Heart and soul are the magical ingredients that can help any of us progress from shower or car singer to musician.
Around half of the teachers who train with GITC qualify themselves as shower singers and non-musicians when they get started with us, That tells you how much they want to make music- how grateful they are for GITC's assistance. It's a big deal for an adult to start with music. But with your help, GITC is making it happen- and children are the beneficiaries.
Maybe you are like about a quarter of the teachers who sign up for training. They took a few guitar lessons and stopped because it hurt, or they felt they couldn't change chords fast enough, or there were other things that came easier so they let it go. The saddest thing is those who stop singing or playing because someone has embarrassed them. Don't even get me started about this. It has a whole lot to do with why I started this work in the first place- reversing the damage of cruel comments.
Our approach is very gentle and painless at GITC and you can learn with us. We start in Hawaiian taro patch G tuning. This is super easy. The guitar sounds beautiful right away and you can begin to make music with just one finger. Think Hawaii and you'll understand. GITC provides beginners with a relaxing guitar experience. Is there any reason at all why you shouldn't also have a musically enjoyable, meaningful, successful experience, too?
You have helped us raise funds so more teachers have the special chance to discover their musicality with GITC, and they will share music with thousands of children who might otherwise miss out because you care to make this possible! Thank you so very much. So please, treat yourself to playing with us.
Guitars in the Classroom is partnering with a very ethical, well-run, positive. and stable online guitar instruction company called JamPlay. The website can be found at jamplay.com. At this site, about 50 guitar instructors including me (Jessica Baron) are teaching video guitar lessons, chatting with our students, and holding Q & A sessions. The JamPlay faculty covers a broad range of styles and levels. I feel very very blessed to be the newest instructor at the site!
Last April, I recorded 35 sequential guitar and voice lessons with JamPlay in the style of GITC so that teachers, friends, parents, volunteers, anybody can learn with us. JamPlay is currently editing these lessons and they are uploading about 2 per week... so far there are 11 of my lessons available at the site.
Would you like to see- for free? The folks at JamPlay have given us a special code so you can go to the site and take as many lessons as you wish- from me or from any of the teachers- and as many different teachers as you wish- for a week. There are no strings attached at all.
To access the free week- ANYTIME- just go to jamplay.com/gitc and sign on.
To watch any of my lessons to see the special ways we train the teachers with Guitars in the Classroom, just search for Jessica Baron and you'll find my lesson set.
To see if there is a teacher at the site who really appeals to you, feel free to visit any of us and watch as little or as much of any of our lessons. Ask questions, make requests, have fun!
If you wind up wanting to join at the end of the week, you'll get the chance and it will cost $20 for a month of unlimited lessons and JamPlay will donate $10 of this to free teacher training programs with GITC!
If you don't, then you can just sign off, and that will be that. Simple. And you will have experienced firsthand what our little organization is up to in teacher training classes.
So please join GITC in taking a positive musical step with us - whether it's just a quick peek or the beginning of a beautiful romance with playing the guitar. Since making music is important enough to you to give the chance to children, I hope you will also give this gift to yourself as part of the Guitars in the Classroom community.
Thanks for considering joining us in this new way. www.jamplay.com/gitc.
And oh! We have a new video to watch at our homepage, too... it's short and shows you our programs in action. Wanna see? www.guitarsintheclassroom.org !
Thank you for joining me in this awesome endeavor to keep the music alive in our schools and in the lives of children.
This month, many of you joined us for the first time! Thank you very much for finding Guitars in the Classroom and choosing to make a difference for children through training their teachers to make and lead music. The training you are supporting does so much for everyone by unlocking creativity, musicality, and confidence in the people children depend on every day, all day long. It's amazing how much impact a teacher has on the life of a child.
Thanks for caring about the teachers and giving THEM the chance to love teaching through music and to learn how to do it artfully and sensitively. Thank you for getting the guitars into their classrooms. For helping us create new programs and keep older ones going. 73% of the teachers who train with us, if they had to buy a guitar and pay for private lessons, could not take the first step. Finances and lack of self confidence would keep them back. Making sure this work free for them is crucial to this mission. If a teacher had to buy a guitar and pay for hour long classes, she'd have to find about $1000 somewhere to get through a year of GITC. She'd have to justify this to her family and herself even to get started. In the balance against the needs of her family, guitar and music would have to "wait" and might wait forever. And many teachers require 2-3 years of ongoing training because they are starting from the very beginning and becoming musical takes lots of time and practice. So she'd need that money every year. Some of the teachers who train with us might manage, but they are a tiny minority. And could they continue with it? You know the answer.
We at GITC think it's enough that the teachers GIVE us their time, their practice, their faith, and take a huge step by picking up a brand new instrument and playing it in their classrooms so their students can love learning with music. Thank you for giving the teachers your vote of faith and confidence and this life changing opportunity.
Each teacher reaches about 76 kids a week during the school day with free music making and another 23 before and after school in clubs and extra-curriculars. Multiply that by every year the teachers you are training stay in teaching and your gift is impacting thousands of students over time.
Why is this work so powerful? There is a lot of science we could tell you about, and at our website we keep adding articles. One reason is that the music and language centers of the human brain share space and functions. When we use one, we are growing and using the other. So music making builds language skills, and language is the gateway to much learning. Every song is filled with rich language- new vocabulary, poetry, essential phrases. Each one adds to what students know.
It is also powerful because making music opens hearts and minds together and lets all kinds of good feelings and ideas take hold. And when a teacher knows he can lead a song, write catchy, intelligent lyrics, strum the guitar and help the children sing and create their own new songs, then "teachable moments" multiply. Those kids are on board and part of the learning team.
Each time that teacher plays and sings with the students, he gets stronger, more capable, and happier. That joy is contagious and we all know that joy in a classroom means sunshine on the inside. Remember yourself trapped inside a classroom on a rainy day, staring at a daunting worksheet or test. Now... just add guitar and music. This is what you are giving our children everyday when you give to GITC. The chance to love learning more than they ever thought possible.
GITC wants you to have some stories to read as summer draws to a close, starting with this one from GITC trainer and Blues performer Robin O'herin. Robin began teaching with GITC just last year in Lee, Massachusetts. She held our first pilot program specially for teachers of students with special needs. We call that model MIRSE and you may have read about it already. It stands for Music Integration for Resource and Special Educators. She got 27 teachers in Lee all making and loving music! They did great and are ready for more training now. So the donations you are making this month are bringing the funds together for Robin to run a class for them there this fall. Here is the beginning of a story she wrote for our collection in Musical Miracles: Stories of MIRSE (pronounced "mercy") about her work with a student named Michael. To read the whole story, and others, simply write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will email you back with the whole collection as an edocument. Then you can read how many of our trainers are finding musical ways to help young people overcome even the greatest challenges life dishes out. Please enjoy, thank you for your precious support, and please keep up the great work!
Yours for the teachers and kids,
Michael’s Story: Paying Attention on the Inside by Robin O’Herin
His teachers told me that Michael always had to be in the spotlight. That he had a strong emotional need for validation from others. He would compulsively make himself the center of attention in every class. His teachers said this tendency frequently made Michael hard to deal with, disruptive, “a real handful.” He was a big boy, too, and he could generate a lot of noise and commotion. So it sounded to me like Michael did not know how to get what he needed in a positive or meaningful way- and that his teachers had become very frustrated. I was hoping music might be a constructive experience for them all.
I was invited to visit Michael’s school to lead an hour-long participatory musical Blues presentation for a mixed group of 25 special needs students, including this special young man. When I arrived in the room, I was happy to see it was a school lounge with informal living room furniture! I arranged couches and chairs in a roomy semi-circle, with a row of chairs behind them. This left space in the middle and back of the room for the students to be able to move around- an important part of the musical experience, especially for some of us who just do not like sitting still and others who learn best when in motion!
In short order, twenty-five high school students with a wide range of challenges arrived with their teachers, gradually finding seats or chose to stand in the back. The teachers had explained to the students they were going to attend a special concert, but they really did not know what to expect themselves so they had no idea how to prep their students for this musical experience. Everyone looked up at the front expectantly.
I am used to giving musical workshops and performances in the schools and can handle whatever comes up in the audience, but with special needs students, it was important for me to assess who was in the room as quickly as possible.
When Michael came into the room, he was very upset and started acting out. Not an easy start to our time! His teacher explained that this was because he couldn’t be up front and the center of attention. She took him into the back of the room and stood with him there. I felt instantly challenged to find a way to draw Michael into the activity and help him channel that big energy into something excellent.....
Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.
If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating or by subscribing to this project's RSS feed.