Infuse Learning with Music in Pre-K-8 Classrooms!

Jun 21, 2011

What is your contribution creating?

Dear Contributor to Guitars in the Classroom,

Thank you so much for making our free teacher training programs possible! This week, some exciting things happened for the GITC Global Giving campaign. GITC received employee gift card contributions from folks who work for companies that contribute to Global Giving, and we have been blessed with our first recurring contributor! Thanks to all of you and to the hard working staff at Global Giving for working hard to make this possible!

GITC is excited to welcome each of you donors who are choosing our organization on faith, having not yet been to a GITC teacher training class, observed a GITC classroom, or joined us for a GITC concert. We would love to invite you to have a personal experience with our organization! Please write to me at if you would like to be included in something we are doing "on the ground" and we'll find a way to make it happen!

If you wish to share what has prompted you to support Guitars in the Classroom, we are super interested in hearing your personal story! Social change doesn't come in one mass movement, but is the collective effect of hundreds and thousands of deeply held and thoughtful personal decisions- made by each one of us, one heart at a time. What is important in your heart is what is making the difference in our schools. Please allow me to encourage you to share this with the GITC family.

We recently started adding a sponsor spotlight to our e-newsletters and next we will add a CONTRIBUTOR'S CORNER to celebrate you who are committing energy, resources, and focus to making music a part of learning for children in schools. Your personal decision can and will inspire others to reflect as well, and to choose to make a difference in some way, somewhere, at some time. 

Here are a few quotes for you from teachers who have written in to thank GITC for teaching them to lead and integrate music. This is how your kindness is changing the lives of teachers and children everyday and improving the quality of education. Thank you so much.

If you wish to continue helping GITC throughout the school year, will you please consider becoming a recurring donor? A small amount given each month keeps GITC going come rain or shine, and assures that we can reach teachers and children in communities all around the country with the hope, help, excitement, and excellence that learning through music makes possible. 

“In my kindergarten, I play guitar everyday to greet my students on the carpet before roll call. It’s like magic!”

 “I have been a third grade teacher for ten years and have seen many music programs disappear due to budget constraints. I am so thrilled to bring music back into my classroom!”

 “S., who speaks very quietly, was trying to share his song. The class couldn’t hear him and asked him to sing louder. With the rhythm of the song, he sang and spoke louder than ever before in front of his peers!”

“I explained that I was a student, too, and that I would be practicing what I learned in class with them so they had to be patient with me because I was learning just like them. I told them that they already knew the songs, so they had to help ME learn by singing very loudly! My only regret is not having learned to play sooner!”

“My kids said they would sing the Amigo song during STAR testing to help them remember synonyms and antonyms!”

“I now know it is ESSENTIAL to make music a natural part of children’s school day.”

I played “Get On Board” and the students really got into it! They were respectful and sang along. After playing the song, I told my students that I was new to playing music and that I hoped I did a decent job. One student, Cesar, said “What are you talking about Miss O.? You did a great job! You’re a rock star!” After that, all the students wanted my autograph and lined up to get one!” I walked away so inspired to keep practicing and learning more songs on the guitar for them!”

Wishing you a blessed week, a beautiful summer solstice, and a grand summer!



May 30, 2011

Teaching Eco-Sustainability in the Garden!

Children Learn in the Garden
Children Learn in the Garden

Hello Wonderful Donors!

With the warming of the weather, GITC has gone out into the garden with our programs in May as we begin to help teachers unite science lessons with hands-on learning in school "life labs" where nutrition and health take on a whole new meaning. 
On May 11 and 18th, we piloted the first ever 'Sing Green Workshops' in the Conejo Unified School District, a bit northeast of Los Angeles, CA. This exciting new initiative has been made possible with help and involvement from musician Jack Johnson, his brilliant wife and partner in all things eco and non-profit Kim, and their Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation, and with very much appreciated funding from the Guitar Center Charitable Giving Committee, located right there in Thousand Oaks!
Our good friend Moriah Harris-Rodgers, executive director of the Fender Music Foundation dropped in to participate with the teachers- a real treat! Moriah has had a hand in helping shape programs and get guitars to teachers over the past several years and it was great to see her. We would love YOU to do the same. Please join us for a class if you can to take part in the learning and fun while we create meaningful change in the schools. 
These Sing Green workshops utilize a book we created (called The Green Songbook) with active participation from all kinds of dedicated, inspired people. If you want to see who helped, you can! Just visit the website for The Green Songbook at and peek inside. Any chapter you click will tell you about a different writer. And to see the artists involved, simply click on the Songwriters tab on the Look Inside page.
Sing Green teacher training workshops help teachers make Farm to School and Garden Learning an engaging, unforgettable, community bonding experience through the integration of participatory green music making with lessons on sustainable farming and gardening, plant science, nature lessons, and practical experiences building a school garden, and planting, growing, harvesting, preparing, cooking, and eating garden-grown food. 
Why is the music so important? Because long after the fun lessons end, the green songs will remain. Long after the garden has been studied, made into meals, and consumed, the green waste going into compost, the green songs will be sung and shared. And each song carries distinct knowledge, experience, and hope. It awakens good memories for the students and inspires them to go back into the garden, get outdoors, eat right, shop at their local farmer's market, conserve, reduce, reuse, and recycle, treasure nature and to protect the earth.  

Thank you for contributing to this work. The funds you have donated will help us make these Sing Green materials available to teachers wherever they are training with GITC. We hope you can enjoy getting out into a garden this week, renewing your spirit in sunshine and new growth, and perhaps you will even check out your community's school and community garden projects. We've included a link to the website where they list the non-profits affiliated with Jack and Kim Johnson's effort to cultivate Earth stewardship. Among those listed are some very exciting organizations involved in school and community gardening, just FYI.

Please enjoy,



May 17, 2011

Making Future Plans Together for Fall, 2011

We Sing with Love
We Sing with Love

Dear Friend of GITC,

This is just a little note of thanks because your donation last month has given our staff rays of hope for the coming fall. Every year at this time we begin to assign dollars raised to programs that will train teachers in music from October through mid-December, from California and Hawaii to New York and Maine. Your gift has given us a start on that process. There is still, very honestly, a long way to go for GITC, and as someone who cares about the future of the work, I would like to take this special opportunity to explain our math to you so you really understand how your gifts help make it all possible.

GITC's friend Jack Johnson sings that 3 is the magic number. And so it is. We offer three courses in a GITC location each year when we can raise the funds. That is because teachers have time to work with us for up to three periods of six to eight weeks between fall and the end of spring. We don't hold trainings during conferences, open house weeks, testing, or school breaks because teachers do best learning something as positive and voluntary as music when they are under less pressure. So we eliminate the stress for them. So, at most, we offer GITC for 24 weeks during the school year. 

So besides 3, our other magic number is 24. We welcome up to 24 teachers in a single class, and because the teachers' schedules are tough, we have an average revolving group of about 10-15 who can make it each time. We keep everyone engaged by doing lots of curriculum development, new song learning, and songwriting on academic and personal goal setting topics. Songs for memorizing big words, parts of the body, seasons, math facts, and all that. Songs for appreciating the planet, the seasons, good friends. Songs for sharing, cleaning up, using our words, taking turns. All of it. And we move slowly through new guitar lessons so that all the teachers can keep up- even when their moms need rides to the doctor after school and their kids have orthodontia appointments, or they have yet another faculty meeting or Student Study Team meeting.

GITC is there for them and they come back, happily, unafraid to have lost their place. We work gently and without a trace of guilt because we are thrilled they care enough to train with us in their precious free hours. We know learning to make and lead music takes time for anyone and we are willing to work to provide teachers with that time. They appreciate this and the payoff for all of us is so beautiful. The teachers find their voices, they work at their skills, they blossom inside the music, create new songs that bring home what the kids are learning. They create a jubilant atmosphere in which to connect, learn, practice, create, and celebrate. This is life renewing. Many teachers who have been in the classroom for twenty-plus years feel a new passion for teaching when music becomes a joy and an effective teaching tool. Having that free guitar to play and share with students is something between a teddy bear and a magic wand on tough days. Kids respond. The guitar responds back. Teachers know they can nurture on many levels at once with this musical gift.

So thanks for helping us get a start on next fall. If you are motivated to do more, Global Giving is helping you help us even more between now and Friday by offering a bonus if ten of you sign up as recurring donors. It's a cool program. You can give $10 a month for the year, funds we can use as we need them throughout the year, and then, instead of writing one larger check in December when the entire world is asking you for an end of year donation, you can smile and say, "I already gave." Hundreds of children will already by learning through music because of you.

If you would like to sign on as a recurring donor today, it's very easy. The button/link is right on our project page. 

Thank you for being with us. Together we really are making a lasting difference in the lives of so many.




Apr 29, 2011

Thank you from GITC in Ocean Springs, Mississippi

Music Makes Me Feel Smart
Music Makes Me Feel Smart

Dear Friend,

Thank you for giving of your energy, time, faith and resources to support the work of Guitars in the Classroom for this Global Giving campaign. We are getting closer now, as of Thursday night, to accomplishing our ultimate goal of earning a permanent place with Global Giving thanks to you!!

Let's take a moment to be glad for the gains we've already made together since April 1- bringing music to schools in Massachusetts, New York, California, and Mississippi!

Here are some notes we received just today from the Head Start teachers who have been taking music integration training in Ocean Springs with Kate MacMahon. The teachers' words paint an inspiring and very real picture of the difference your donations are making:

I never thought I would ever play a musical instrument and hold 15 to 20 childrens attention at the same time.  Look at me.  I bought a guitar to practice @ home and I plan to enroll in a guitar class soon.    Diane Leverette

The guitar class has allowed me the opportunity to share music differently with my children in class.  They dont know I am playing one cord.  I am holding their attention and they are learning.  Renather Edwards

Guitar in the classroom has helped me as I concentrate on learning/listening and using my fingers to make music.  Dorothy Lee

It has enhanced my appreciation for music.  I am thankful for this opportunity to learn and share with my children and coworkers  Barbara Fields

The class aroused my music appreciation and taught me patience and coordination as I move and groove with my children Valarie Wright

Hopefully these last three days will also help us start a new program in Aurora, Illinois where 85% of the students are English Language Learners and a wonderful new trainer named Brooke is waiting in the wings to begin a program in the fall.

Thank you for becoming a part of the solution for keeping music alive and growing in schools, and in the lives of children who will have the benefit of your care and generosity.

From all of us on the GITC staff, faculty, and board, may your kindness come back to you magnified, and may your wishes for the teachers and children be fulfilled.

Yours in service, song, and celebration,


Music Makes me Feel Good
Music Makes me Feel Good


Apr 25, 2011

Getting Closer with Your Participation!

Wicomico Early Learning Center in Salisbury, MD
Wicomico Early Learning Center in Salisbury, MD

Dear Contributors,

Thanks to your generosity, determination and compassion, as of today, Guitars in the Classroom is just about $1445 shy of the goal of raising $4000 to secure a place with Global Giving all year long! The $2555 that has been raised will fund classes in three GITC locations, now- Lee, Massachusetts, Brooklyn, New York, and Oakland, California!

Thank you for getting this campaign off to a wonderful start and carrying it through. This week is the home stretch! Please help us grow HeadStart training programs in Oceans Springs, Mississippi, a community hard hit by the hurricanes and the Gulf Coast oil spill. In this place, learning through music sets young children on a positive path despite all the challenges they have experienced in their young lives. The little ones whose preschools embrace making music were born after Katrina, around the time of Rita, and have lived through the failing economy from the spill. Born into a time of great challenge, they need- and deserve- our support. Please enjoy this photo submitted by star GITC teacher trainer, Dr. Diana Wagner of one of her teachers in training, Georgie Casselbury with a young student from the Wicomico Early Learning Center in Salisbury, MD!

Your concern for the children, for our culture, for the quality of education, and your love of music is already going to create a very different reality for children there and elsewhere around the country. Among your friends, family, and neighbors, are there other people you know of who share these values and who would wish to help us? Might they appreciate knowing about GITC? This is the perfect opportunity to pass along the news and the invitation to get involved with a link to this campaign!

GITC's  person-to-person movement in which we are all participating is a gentle one that will have great lasting impact. We may not be sounding sirens and disaster warnings- but the impact of no music making in chlidhood education, and music appreciation de-evolving into 99 cent mp3 downloads of pop music is stark. Thank you for standing up for culture, creativity and kids.

I'd like to invite you to visit our website,, where you can watch a video of teachers from the Oceanside and Encinitas, CA GITC programs sharing the music they now make and lead so beautifully. The event was help by GITC's local Southern California sponsor, Art n Soul Gallery on 101 in Encinitas at their spring party. Imagine yourself in a classroom with one of these enthusiastic teachers leading children in songs for learning and you will get an idea of the benefit of the gift you have given. If you ARE one of these teachers, bless you!!

Let's keep working with the campaign together so this community can grow stronger and get music into more schools this coming school year! 

Warm and very grateful regards,


About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to 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.

Donation Options
An anonymous donor will match all new monthly recurring donations, but only if 75% of donors upgrade to a recurring donation today.
Terms and conditions apply.
Make a monthly recurring donation on your credit card. You can cancel at any time.
Make a donation in honor or memory of:
What kind of card would you like to send?
How much would you like to donate?
gift Make this donation a gift, in honor of, or in memory of someone?


Project Leader

Jessica Baron

Encinitas, CA United States

Where is this project located?

Map of Infuse Learning with Music in Pre-K-8 Classrooms!