May 18, 2021

Summer is for Strummers!

Summer Strummers - Clubs will be starting soon!
Summer Strummers - Clubs will be starting soon!

Dear Supporter of Musical Learning,

We hope you are doing well these days, staying healthy, getting vaccinated and beginning to enjoy some greater freedom. I am excited to share with you that this summer, Guitars and Ukes in the Classroom (GUITC) is embarking on fulfilling a need and a dream- to create extra-curricular music clubs! This is taking place thanks to a grant from the San Diego Foundation supporting San Diego Unified students to be given free, coveted spots - reserved specifically for students most impacted by the COVID-19 crisis - to learn to make music with us in a joyful summer enrichment experience. 

In Summer Strummers Clubs, students will be welcomed into safe, playful, inclusive musical learning experiences twice-weekly, developing their self expression, creativity and collaboration skills in a restorative environment.They’ll learn to sing and play traditional and multicultural songs and rounds with movement, percussion and ukulele together, improvise instrumental soundtracks for stories, compose and perform original songs in teams, and hold a final Celebrations of Learning the share their musical creativity with family members and friends. Summer enrichment will last for four weeks and each of our club meetings will last for 2 hours, so students will get 8 learning-filled hours of realxing group music making with literacy and math skills tucked into curriculum as natural elements of playing instruments and songwriting, respectively.

It might surprise you to know that each of you are the reason our nonprofit was selected to provide summer enrichment - even though we have never done so before. Truly, because you have supported our work in Title I schools, our work has been allowed to develop into a robust, kind and engaging approach to teaching and learning music that includes every kind of learner. Your care has helped our organization become strong, stable, and ready to take on new opportunities to serve!

This summer, our teaching artists and music interns will develop the music club programs in action. Then we will put them in place after school around participating school districts in the Fall. The clubs will create more musical equity! Currently, unless each student's teacher has voluntarily trained with us and has chosen to become a songleader for learning, students in non-participating classrooms are left on the outside, looking and listening in while students in GUITC classrooms are playing ukes, guitars, singing, songwriting, and performing together. No fair!

We determined to close the music gap by making clubs easy to start, guide and sustain for teachers who want to make a difference. Thank you so very much for seeing us forward to taking this momentous step!

In closing, I wonder if you noticed that we have formally expanded our name from Guitars in the Classroom to Guitars and Ukes in the Classroom! With thousands of ukuleles being played by students in GITC classrooms from coast to coast, and about 1500 teachers every year learning to play ukulele in our free professional development courses, ukuleles have earned a cherished spot in our name and its acronym. So GITC (pronounced git-sy) is now  spelled GUITC but it is still pronounced "git-sy" thanks to the charming coincidence that "GUIT" in the word "guitar" so is still pronounced as "git"!

I hope this latest development inspires you to contribute once again to this project. We are finally approaching our fundraising goal!

With appreciation for your kindness and confidence in our efforts to make a musical difference together,

Jess

Links:

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:

 
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