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Aug 2, 2019

Our Special Ed Conferences were AMASE-ING!

Gentle strummimg soothes souls
Gentle strummimg soothes souls

Dear Friend of GITC and Musical Inclusion,

I am writing to thank you for the lift you have given our work creating musical inclusion for students with special needs. We've just completed our first two AMASE Conferences. These were initially supported by compassionate donors like you who believed in the work. And thanks to those early gifts, we were able to write grants to three benevolent foundations. All agreed to help with this important mission and we could not have gotten this far without YOU! Please feel our love here. Now the Nordson Foundation, the Qualcomm Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts are each lending their support and prestige to our efforts now.

AMASE was our name for this work last year. It stands for Adaptive Music for Achievement in Special Education. Now we are seeing so many general classroom teachers signing up for the training because they have been tasked by their school districts to include more students than ever with identified special needs. These days, any elementary classroom will most likely have 5-10 students whose challenges may include special challenges. The word used to describe these classrooms in "Inclusion." So we have renamed AMASE into AMAISE: Adaptive Music for Achievment in Inclusion and Special Education!

This summer in Chula Vista Elementary School District and in San Diego and our 42 surrounding county-affiliated districts gathered to participate in 2 days of AMAISE training. Special educators, staff members, therapeutic specialists and inclusion teachers  joined together for two days to learn to play, share and adapt music making for their students. They learned to play drums and percussion, led adaptive drum circles, and incorporated movement with hand percussion. They learned to play ukelele and guitar, sing, teach and lead songs for learning. They composed and co-wrote original lyrics for teaching Social Emotional Learning, classroom rules and academic content, and well, so much more!

Not only did they learn with our team (Desirée Cera, Dan Decker, Amanda Johnson, Sam Cadwell and myself), they also benefited from workshops and trainings given by awesome guest presenters.Ashton Fulcher and Ignatius Nguyen of Urban Beats/Pathways presented on addressing mental health through hip-hop, rap and movement. Educator of students with hearing impairment or blindness, Mimi Seney shared her interventions for teaching music using specialized techniques. Lead trainer for the Beamz Interactive, Tom Reidy showed teachers how to use their table top laser light musical instrument with midi files, and music therapist Lindsay Zehren with Resounding Joy led drum circle instruction using Remo Comfort Sound adaptive drums for students with Austism everyday.

Music therapist and Founder of the Music Therapy Center of California, Julie Guy gave a dynamic workshop on ways of using music to calm, focus and channel the energy of students who are prone to feeling overwhelmed and reverting to aggressive and destructive behavior. Her techniques empower teachers to circumvent that possibility or address it with sounds and songs that help them regain self control quickly and successfully.

AMAISE participants left each conference feeling equipped, inspired and ready to bring music into their teaching this fall. We will be following up with everyone and starting teaching artist visits to their classrooms to help them get into the swing of music leadership beginning in September. Please stay with this project and support these courageous teachers to achieve their goals of giving music to their students every day. Let's help them succeed this year!

Our charity us immensely grateful to the dedicated leaders from Visual and Performing Arts and Special Education divisions of the San Diego County Office of Education, San Diego Unified School District and Chula Vista Elementary School District. We owe the progress that was made this past school year and summer to the advocacy and support of these great individuals and their unanimous receptivity to our unusual approach to making music accessible to ALL students.

We hope this news has lifted your heart as someone wanting to improve the quality of education. When power is invested in people who genuinely care about the students and staff, such good things can happen.

With devotion to this mission and doing this work on your behalf,

Jess

 

 

Hand-Eye Coordination & Rhythm!
Hand-Eye Coordination & Rhythm!
Songwriting Lyrics for Social Emotional Learning
Songwriting Lyrics for Social Emotional Learning
Comfort Sound Tabletop Drum
Comfort Sound Tabletop Drum

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Jul 19, 2019

Redux! Put a Little Love in Your Heart!

Dear Supporter,

We are happy to send you this report with one important typo we missed below fixed in capital letters! A sneaky little word, "now" -good news- had turned into "not" - bad news- so worth revising for you. Thanks for your patience!

Thank you so much for continuing to support this important project. I'd like to share a few important new developments that have taken place in the last few weeks.

When we first started this project, it was a responsive idea based on what teachers were talking about in our training programs. We saw a need to address emotional needs of children experiencing stress and crisis. But this past school year, there has been a major shift in curricular focus across the nation. Instead of focusing solely on academics,  The Department of Education  is finally paying attention to social emotional learning or what teachers call in shorthand SEL. So have we, especially in our work with students in special education.

 What this shift means for this project is an expanded goal of not only providing teachers with songs that help students cope with and rise above difficulties but it will NOW include songs that give them social and emotional strategies that are specific to self soothing and developing emotionally healthy habits. The book will also include songwriting fill in the blank worksheets to prompt students to put their understandings and strategies into songs!

Last week we negotiated with the largest print music publisher in the United States to grant us favorable terms for including several popular songs in the book for a reduced fee. We were hoping they would publish the book for us but their publishing schedule is too busy. So we will be doing it ourselves. We will also be producing a CD because teachers still use the use their boomboxes in their classrooms even more than MP3 downloads.

We'll be working on getting the rights to songs in the next month and then we will be ready to physically begin to produce the book. The last stage will be recording the music which will probably take place in the early fall. It helped to have the book CD ready beginning of 2020.

Thank you so much for continuing to follow the growth of this project. I believe you will be very proud of it in the end.

Warmly,

Jess

 

Jul 19, 2019

Put a Little Love in Your Heart

Dear Supporter,

Thank you so much for continuing to support this important project. I'd like to share a few important new developments that have taken place in the last few weeks.

When we first started this project, it was a responsive idea based on what teachers were talking about in our training programs. We saw a need to address emotional needs of children experiencing stress and crisis. But this past school year, there has been a major shift in curricular focus across the nation. Instead of focusing solely on academics,  The Department of Education  is finally paying attention to social emotional learning or what teachers call in shorthand SEL. So have we, especially in our work with students in special education.

What this shift means for this project is an expanded goal of not only providing teachers with songs that help students cope with and rise above difficulties but it will not include songs that give them social and emotional strategies that are specific to self soothing and developing emotionally healthy habits. The book will also include songwriting fill in the blank worksheets to prompt students to put their understandings and strategies into songs!

Last week we negotiated with the largest print music publisher in the United States to grant us favorable terms for including several popular songs in the book for a reduced fee. We were hoping they would publish the book for us but their publishing schedule is too busy. So we will be doing it ourselves. We will also be producing a CD because teachers still use the use their boomboxes in their classrooms even more than MP3 downloads. 

We'll be working on getting the rights to songs in the next month and then we will be ready to physically begin to produce the book. The last stage will be recording the music which will probably take place in the early fall. It helped to have the book CD ready beginning of 2020.

Thank you so much for continuing to follow the growth of this project. I believe you will be very proud of it in the end.

Warmly,

Jess

 
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