Aug 31, 2021

Hope and New Opportunities with Music for At Risk Youth

Everyone Deserves Music!
Everyone Deserves Music!

The new school year brings a sense of anticipation and excitement. As students return to campus, principals and teachers are focusing on building hope and healing as they seek effective ways to help them overcome the academic and social emotional disruptions caused by the pandemic. This is particularly important for at-risk older youth. 

Thanks to your support, classroom teachers who train with GITC have been able to bring courage, strength and resilience through our programs to students at continuation high schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), and they are now welcoming them back into the classroom with music! 

Ulyana Wms-Kohlmeyer, principal at John Hope Continuation High School said, “I believe that music and GITC teaching artist residencies have been, and will continue to be, the saving grace for our students. Because of GITC we were able to reach and teach our students through an art form that captured their attention and motivated them to sustain it. We would be missing a  crucial opportunity to turn their prospects for the future around if we do not continue such programs.” 

This month, through your generosity, we were able to deliver 25 guitars and a full complement of acoustic guitar accessories to a new group of students at two continuation high schools in LAUSD so they can begin training with us. We are so excited to welcome them as they start making music for resilience! 

These students will be able to restore a sense of normalcy by building classroom community and a sense of belonging. They will have an opportunity to share their individual and collective musical experiences and preferences, and, throughout the year, will be able to see their own musical and academic growth and accomplishments, and look towards a brighter future. 

Thank you for empowering GITC to provide a safe place and space for these students to grow and learn.

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

 Gail 

Jul 1, 2021

School's Out! Teaching In Person this Summer!

Friends who play together stay together!
Friends who play together stay together!

It’s summer as you know, friends, and our days of virtual learning for children have ended. Here in San Diego, schools resumed in person instruction with a virtual option for families when our COVID-19 cases decreased and vaccines got into arms.

The results for students have been a gradual restoration of hope, glimmerings of joy, and a slow release of the traumas children experienced being kept home and away from friends, teachers and extended family members.

Here in our hometown, the San Diego Foundation teamed up with San Diego Unified School District to create a first-ever program called Level Up San Diego. Together these two powerful institutions super-funded two options to help kids emerge from the strain of remote learning. One is a half-day summer school program. The other is an enrichment program offering a range of learning opportunities from outdoor education and STEAM classes to Arts offerings.

GITC proposed launching our Summer Strummers Clubs in 7 schools in diverse neighborhoods. We hired successful GITC classroom teachers and music leaders to create highly engaging musical learning experiences in 14 clubs and we added 2 virtual sections for students who preferred to learn online. Our students are wearing masks, practicing safe social distancing, and washing their hands often. We know the pandemic is not entirely resolved. And even with these requirements, they are feeling freer, happier and more spontaneous as they connect, create and celebrate life once more with their peers and friends.

From the north to the south, and from the west to east in our district, students here are now being welcomed into safe, playful, inclusive musical classrooms, twice-weekly. Together, through music, they are developing their self-expression, creativity and collaborative skills! They are learning to sing and play traditional and multicultural songs. They are dancing, parading, making art on musical themes, playing percussion and ukulele, improvising instrumental soundtracks for stories, and composing original songs. We are so grateful to the San Diego Foundation and the San Diego Unified School District for selecting Guitars and Ukes in the Classroom to be grant recipients in order to bring music to life for kids at no charge to their families.

Please enjoy these photos from some of our classes this week! Thanks to volunteer photographer Joyce for capturing the magic, and to her husband Rodney for bringing our traveling ukulele zoo out to the clubs!

What is this crazy uke? It's a Resonator!
What is this crazy uke? It's a Resonator!
Can THIS be a ukulele too?
Can THIS be a ukulele too?
Goodness Gracious, It's a Sopranino!
Goodness Gracious, It's a Sopranino!
Rodney Shares the Magic!
Rodney Shares the Magic!

Links:

May 29, 2021

Single Skill Residencies Rock for Special Learners

Dear Friend of Exceptional Children,

Thank you so much for your caring support of GITC's efforts to make music accessible to ALL learners. This is such a huge effort when you think about how many decades students with exceptional needs have been left out of music education and denied access to opportunities to learn to play an instrument. With your help we at GITC are continuing our efforts to wake society up to every child’s ability to express themselves through music, and the momentum is growing.

Attendance in our online courses, AMAISE Beginners and AMAISE-ing Classroom Coaching continues to expand, and now includes special education teachers, inclusion teachers and support staff. This has allowed our musical reach to students to expand greatly. Our second level AMAISE online teacher training is providing individual coaching to the teachers, enabling them to gain useful strategies for Social Emotional development and self-regulation for their students. Also, thanks to you we have been able to supply these students with ukuleles and adaptive music supplies. 

We recently launched new “Single Skill Teaching Artist Residencies” or SSTARs for medically fragile students at Carlson Home Hospital in the Los Angeles Unified School District. These are collaborative endeavors with highly engaged teachers who have completed our AMAISE training and are now ready to adapt music for their students with exceptionalities! 

Each SSTAR offers one-on-one music coaching from our teaching artist to a highly engaged AMAISE-ing special educator while they work with an individual student whom they have identified as being receptive to learning through music. Each exceptional student has a Home Music Helper (HMH) supporting them during the music session and making music with them between sessions. In this way, the special educator is learning to lead important adaptive techniques with the student, and music is becoming a part of that student’s life at home everyday.

Each one of us has the power to encourage the people around us and these days, a little encouragement can go a very long way to make someone's day or give them hope. Thank you for encouraging all of us at GITC with your generosity. Your participation helps us spread the joy and we are very grateful.

With you, for all the children,

Gail

Links:

 
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