May 6, 2021

Back in the Classroom with Restorative Music!

Guitars donated to John Hope Continuation HS
Guitars donated to John Hope Continuation HS

Spring is a time of renewal and hope. As COVID-19 restrictions begin to lift and many students return to their classrooms, teachers are focusing on helping students overcome the academic and social emotional disruptions caused by the pandemic. This is particularly important for at-risk older youth. Fortunately, thanks to your support, classroom teachers who train with GITC have been able to bring hope, courage, strength and resilience through our programs to students at continuation high schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District throughout this school year, and are now welcoming them back into the classroom with music! 

 With your help these students are able to restore a sense of normalcy as they complete this school year and look towards the future. For example, one of the students tragically lost both parents during the pandemic. This student loves the guitar and was able to serve as a student mentor in the GITC classrooms sessions, uplifting him, providing him a sense of community with his classmates, and giving him a renewed sense of purpose.

 Last month we were able to supply 40 new instruments to students in South Los Angeles GITC programs, thanks to your generosity, and these programs increased with two brand new groups of students who began training with us. We are so excited to welcome them to making music for resilience!  Thank you for empowering GITC to provide a safe place and space for these students to grow and learn.

 Thank you for your ongoing support for this work!

 Wishing you health, peace and inspiration to keep making our world better,

 Gail 

May 6, 2021

Songbook for Hope, Healing & Comfort is Growing!

I am excited to bring you up to date with the progress of our songbook for hope, help, healing and comfort. Each week we hear more stories in the media about suffering and loss as a direct result of racism and racial profiling.  These stories cause grief, devastation and social unrest, often resulting in violence. This is especially difficult for children. Their teachers understand and have been drawing upon the songs and musical teaching techniques they’ve been learning in their GITC training courses this winter and spring to directly, sensitively, and creatively cultivate understanding and student self expression. Our book continues to expand with input from the teachers!

We recently held a special workshop for classroom teachers for the purpose of sharing some of these songs and to learn about songs that have meaning for them. The experience was uplifting and inspiring to the teachers. When they shared the songs with their students the music had the effect of restoring connection, amplifying joy, administering care and teaching kindness.

Our teaching artist residencies that include these songs- and their history- as a part of musical learning have continued throughout this school year as well.

The songbook is growing and will soon begin a new stage of development as we work on clearing copyrights so we can produce a physical book to place in classrooms next school year.  In the meantime, please visit our blog page listed below as a link to learn more about how GITC music is helping to include all students and is addressing the important topic of social justice. 

We are thankful you continue to empower us to make it possible. You are love in action, and we are pleased to be your messengers.

With love, hope, help and healing,

Gail and Jess

Links:

Mar 3, 2021

Improving Children's Ability to Learn thru Music

Miss D's Upper Elementary Uke Club
Miss D's Upper Elementary Uke Club

Almost a year has passed since distance learning became the norm for TK-3 students as a result of the pandemic and school closures.  As you may know, throughout this time, teachers, students and families have all met the challenges of living with uncertainty, stress and the technological aspects of virtual learning. Fortunately, music has a way of making their efforts more worthwhile by providing an opportunity to create joy.

Thanks to your generosity, we are continuing to grow our capacity to provide GITC professional development classes online for teachers who want to learn to play simple guitar and ukulele, sing, and lead students in song, inspiring everyone. We are deeply grateful to each of you who has contributed to keep our little engine climbing the hill on nonprofit service. Because of your support, every 8 weeks we are able to welcome another 100 teachers into training to teach through the power of song with ukuleles, songs for literacy, math, science and social studies, and student songwriting. 

When she started bringing GITC to her first grade students, Miss D., a teacher at Maryland Elementary school in Vista, California found the effects of the ukulele to be life changing for her students. “I’d been looking for this thing -- something that would help me shift my students’ trajectory in life, ” she explains. “My school has the highest number of homeless students in the district. Many of my students are English language learners. My biggest hope is always to shift their trajectory with small, positive changes. Even if it’s just three degrees, it has the power to change their lives when they are adults.”  Miss D. even started after-school ukulele clubs so the students could play music together in a safe, socially-distanced setting outside. Now she is shifting school culture by inspiring teachers from every grade to bring GITC to their own students. With your support GITC is changing lives through music!

Thank you for helping to make GITC classrooms like Miss D.s musical and strong. YOUR participation is of the utmost importance. With your ongoing help, we will continue to make a huge impact together as teachers continue with online learning and, when it’s safe, move back into their classrooms.. This promises to be a time of healing and possibility when we lift together. We look forward to creating more opportunities for you to be able to improve children's ability to learn enthusiastically and to make music at school.

If you would like to actively participate with us in cultivating more music in education, we hope you’ll visit our website, engage with us in social media, subscribe to our monthly newsletter, and let your voice be heard!  

With heartfelt appreciation,

Gail

 
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