Apr 23, 2012

Share Your Vision for GITC in 2012-13

Dear Friends,

Thank you for your kindness to children with your gifts to GITC in the past school year . You have chosen to fund free teacher training in music integration so these kids could become more musical people and more successful students academically and socially.  The young lives you are changing are evidenced in the photos below taken in the classroom of Mrs. Patricia Bertram, third grade teacher at Sandburg Elementary School in Mira Mesa, California.

Patty is a veteran teacher who'd never learned a note of music before she came to GITC. Her specialties in teaching are Math and Science, but when music went out of her school for children in the lower grades, it troubled her enough to do something about it right away. Following the wisdom of The Power of One, she bravely signed up for a free GITC class given in San Diego Unified School District.This year, your gifts have helped make that class a reality.

Patty has continued learning to sing, play, lead, and write songs, and to share music with her students, and this year she has taken a huge step forward. We hope other GITC teachers will follow her example.

Through sheer determination and resourcefulness, Patty gathered enough guitars so every child in her classroom gets to play! Some came from yard sales. Others she got on a grant she wrote. And some came on loan from GITC. In addition, GITC has supplied the strings, straps, picks, capos, and tender loving care to help Patty lead collaborative songwriting for learning with her students and wow do they love the experience!

Patty's classroom is a cross-section of middle and working class America. Her students come from families with diverse heritages. Some parents speak very little English, others are talented English speakers and fluent writers. Some never finished 8th grade, others hold advanced degrees. Some are performing menial jobs, others are working in trades, and some are professionals. Some of Patty's students live in cramped conditions, others have their own bedrooms. Some have special challenges in the classroom and music making helps them center, focus, and produce excellent work. Some are studious and have excellent self control, and for them, making music is a release, a chance for free self expression. These students as a group embody the diverse needs of children today.

Not every school and classroom is like Sandburg Elementary. Many schools represent less diverse populations ethnically, socio-economically, academically, and more. Sometimes we have to choose what sort of program to offer because specific needs prevail and our resources are very limited. This means setting priorities.

We are inviting YOU to help us do this for the coming school year. Your voice added to this choir will help GITC become a true reflection of our community.

Please join us by sharing your values, hopes and goals for our work by taking this short survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/73S3Q6K.

To say thank you, we will send 5 special GITC guitar picks from Dunlop to anyone who takes the survey and sends their mailing address to jess@guitarsintheclassroom.org.

We will also award a tube of Guitar Hands Cleansing Lotion to the 12th, 24th, and 48th survey takers! https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/73S3Q6K

Thank you for considering sharing your ideas and vision with us and thanks for taking a moment to look at the wonder you are creating in America classrooms today.

Peace, blessings, and thanks for being a contributor,


Jessica Anne Baron

Founder, Executive Director

These girls are learning so much through music!
These girls are learning so much through music!
These boys are getting creating TOGETHER!
These boys are getting creating TOGETHER!
Music stirs this child's soul...
Music stirs this child's soul...
Having so much fun!
Having so much fun!
Music helps her get in touch
Music helps her get in touch


Mar 13, 2012

Change Education & GlobalGiving will help Wednesday!

Meet Scott who has repaired the guitars
Meet Scott who has repaired the guitars

Dear Friend,

Wednesday, March 14th is a special day for people who care about education and like the work of Guitars in the Classroom, namely YOU! During GlobalGiving’s spring Bonus Day this week, your gift will go 30% farther! GlobalGiving will match every donation up to $1,000 per donor, per project. To sweeten the offer to donors and charities, GlobalGiving will also reward $1,000 to the project that gathers the biggest total donation amount, and also to the project with the most unique donors. You can make sure many more children have access to music at school when you donate to GITC  this week on WEDNESDAY. Please be with us in support of this special cause!


Here is a report about what your kindness so far is making possible in South Carolina.

The beginning of this month was full of surprise; when teachers on Hilton Head Island responded in droves to the offer of free music integration training, we suddenly found ourselves in need of 31 guitars! What to do?

We called Connie Christy, a trainer in our long-ago program up in Aynor, South Carolina and asked for help, knowing the beautiful Godins and Hagstrom guitars we’d loaned teachers were still in use in the schools after eight years.

We realized that most of them would need some work after 8 years, but when our dedicated faculty teamed up to retrieve those guitars and others from our program in Columbia, SC, we discovered that some had been badly mistreated by rambunctious middle schoolers when their teacher was out sick. Now we had a special problem 23 guitars needed help to one extent or another… and we had 1 week to make it happen. Classes were full and scheduled to begin on March 6.

Rolling up her sleeves and going without enough sleep, newest GITC faculty member Dr. Joan Maute rented a van, took to the road, and drove to Columbia where she was met by principal Sally Catoe, leader of the GITC program there, and Ms. Christy who had retrieved 18 instruments from the local schools in Aynor and driven them there herself, taking a day off work to make this happen quickly. Sally found 13 guitars she also could spare, and Joan hit the road back to Hilton Head that night, her van heavy with instruments in need of love.

Assessing the state of the instruments was tough. Joan and our executive director, Jessica Baron took stock together of the situation and made contingency plans. Next morning, Joan hauled the wounded warrior guitars off to John’s Music where expert repairmen John and Scott got to work rehabilitating the instruments. Some were missing parts such as bridge pins and end pins. One had lost its nut and another its saddle . Several had cracks in their tops. But thanks to the tireless and generous work of Janet and Robert Godin, a care package of needed parts went into the mail next day from the factory in Canada. By the time the part arrived, John and Scott, who had been working around the clock to clean, polish, set up, adjust, and restring this flock of guitars were ready to help the last of the instruments recover.  

Guitars in the Classroom opened its doors to the teachers and volunteers of Hilton Head Island right on time, and everyone got the instrument they needed. In fact, Joan Maute had opened her home during the previous week-end so any teacher wanting to find just the right guitar could do so in a leisurely and comfortable way! We have never in 12 years seen this kind of personal touch given to the guitar loan process and Joan’s care for her students is beyond exemplary.

GITC would really like to thank this whole team- the trainers and the guitar builders and repairmen (luthiers); their voluntary dedication is utterly priceless and the children of Hilton Head Island will be singing to learn and also singing their praises for years to come as a result! This is what we mean when we say “Together we can make a difference!” Thank you for being an important part of the magic!

Please help GITC keep these programs growing and going around the country. Every day we are grateful for the miracles your kindness about. On Wednesday, let’s do it again! Please donate here:


 We are really excited to announce that rising country star Tamaray has chosen GITC as her education charity! This talented young woman is a wonderful guitar player and singer who is planning to perform free concerts for GITC schools in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and South Carolina in the weeks and months ahead.  Her first stop is in Hilton Head!

Through her music, she will pass along a message of encouragement to the children living on the Gulf Coast and in affected southern states, spreading the joy and benefits of making music together wherever she goes.

Tamaray’s voice is often compared to music legends such as Reba McEntire or Dolly Parton and her music to Miranda Lambert.  To hear Tamaray’s music and for more information, please visit her website: www.reverbnation.com/tamaray and her facebook page: www.facebook.com/tamaraymusic.

Thank you for reading about the developments in South Carolina and for sharing the success and happiness this work is already bringing to students there.  You will love the feeling you get when you make a contribution this Wednesday, knowing how many kids your charity will touch!  Your help is so crucial to the work of this organization, and is very much appreciated.

Wishing you an inspirational week, thank you for joining us in continuing to create change and excellence in our nation’s schools.

With deep gratitude,

Jessica Baron,
Executive Director

Meet Joan, Connie, and Sally from GITC S Carolina
Meet Joan, Connie, and Sally from GITC S Carolina
Joan is driving the guitars to their new home
Joan is driving the guitars to their new home
John's emergency room
John's emergency room


Mar 5, 2012

Thanks for Your Support of GITC

Dear Friends,

Year 2012 started 2 months ago and since this time, Guitars In The Classroom has been moving heaven and earth to improve education by introducing the culture of music in public school classrooms with guitars, singing and song-based learning. Not only have you made it possible for us to assist programs in the Gulf Coast… you supported us to send two Grammy winners, John Cruz and Laurence Juber, to perform free concerts on elementary school
stages in New York and California , helping instill in students a vision of life as an artist!

Guitars In The Classroom is delighted to announce that we are planning to launch new artist performance programs
to accompany teacher training in different cities located in the Gulf Coast this month! Up and coming artist Tamaray
will be performing in schools in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and South Carolina, inspiring GITC teachers and their thousands of students to make music. Tamaray’s special Education First message gives children encouragement to do their best in their studies as a part of achieving their goals in life. She herself is completing a
Masters degree in education at this time, in addition to being a recording and touring country artist.

Her voice is often compared to music legends such as Reba McEntire or Dolly Parton and her music to Miranda Lambert. For more information about rising star Tamaray, please visit

Her website: www.reverbnation.com/tamaray

Her facebook page: www.facebook.com/tamaraymusic

If you like her music, we hope you will not hesitate to give a like and share in order to help such a positive musical role model reach new young fans!

Right now, we are working to refurbish 18 acoustic guitars in South Carolina so they can be played in classrooms on Hilton Head Island beginning next week. If you could contribute $10 to this cause today, we’d be very grateful! You can accomplish this by making a contribution again through the tribute card campaign, or by giving to our overall project campaign. Any funds coming in this week will help get South Carolina strumming and singing to learn!



Wishing you all a beautiful month of March, thank you for reading and supporting us.

Best regards,

Jessica Baron

If you are interested in learning more about the Gulf Coast Region, please read on:

All Gulf States are located in the Southern region of the United States. In 2005, this coast suffered from several
major hurricanes. Here are some facts about the two biggest hurricanes that devastated the Gulf Coast:

Katrina covered 90.000 square miles, an area as large as the United Kingdom. The hurricane was not the only
disaster; it was followed by floods, destroyed 7 states, killed more than 1.800 people and made more than 80 billion $ in damages. Those figures confirm the fact that this is the worst and most expense catastrophe in the History of the United States.

For more information about Katrina: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurricane_Katrina


Rita hit 4 states and covered an area as large as Germany. Due to massive evacuations, 15.000.000 motorists were
blocked on the Highways.

For more information about Rita: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurricane_Rita

One of the biggest consequences is that the hurricanes distributed over 1 million people elsewhere across the United States making those people unemployed and without money. As a result, the schools are overcrowded and suffer from cuts in their budgets. Even if the government promised to help all the victims by providing funds, a lot of victims of these natural disasters are still struggling to recover and live from day to day. Whatever you can do to ease their suffering including providing musical instruction in the public schools makes life more positive and hopeful. Thank you for your support of our efforts.


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