Guitars in the Classroom

Since 1998, Guitars in the Classroom (GITC) has been inspiring, training and equipping classroom teachers to integrate music making across the academic curriculum through "song-based instruction" so students of all ages have educational, musical access & opportunity at school every day. Our work prepares educators to lead music, employing it as a dynamic tool for reaching all learners, teaching all subjects, and building character, creativity and community.Programs & materials are free.
Jul 11, 2014

A Summer of Musical Infusion for Refugee and Immigrant Children

The Gals
The Gals

Dear Friends,

We cannot thank you enough for the support you have been giving our efforts over the past year. Already this summer our project, Infuse Learning with Music in Pre-K -8 Classrooms has increased its focus on social and emotional learning with heartfelt, dynamic songwriting and singing from teachers in grades K-5 who are serving children in transition. Come August, they will meet their new students and share the power and joy or music deep and wide.

Many of the teachers are working with displaced refugee children from Ethiopia, Somalia and Eritrea, newcomer students from Mexico and Guatelmala, and children from India, Viet Nam and many other parts of Asia. Some of thses newcomers have faced grave danger getting to the US.

The experience of the child who is new to the United States and doesn't understand English is often a confusing and frightening one. There is untold uncertainty, financial instability and pressure to try to fit in with American students. Singing songs of friendship, kindness and care can help. The teachers learn to facilitate student songwriting that shares vital information.

Just today, teachers Dan Decker, T. Ford, Patrice Maller, Dan Cooperman, Teresa Acoba, Angela Giglitto, Molly Stewart, Shannon Plapp, Jasmine Greene, Katrina Stansfield, Candy Szalay, Karissa Neilson, Kim Sowvlen, Danielle Adams, Summer Locke, Marcy Bollens, Shelley Honig and Sue Bruner worked together during class (on the 4th day of their so-called summer vacation) to collaborate on this song that helps these children understand how friends can help and take care of one another. I thought you'd like to read it and see who these dedicated teachers are. I am honored that they are donating their time and effort to acquire a new skill on the much-needed summer break.

                                                        Friendship’s a Circle of Love

                                              To the tune of “Buffalo Gals” ©2014 by GITC Teachers

Chorus:         If you want to have a friend then be a friend, be a friend! Be a friend!
                    If you want to have a friend then be a friend ‘cause friendship’s a circle of love                  

A friend is a person who helps with a smile, helps with a smile, helps with a smile
A friend is a person who helps with a smile‘cause friendship’s a circle of love

My friend accepts me as I am, as I am, as I am
My friend accepts me as I am
‘cause friendship’s a circle of love                                                                                                                

Friends keep secrets, they don’t give them away, don’t give them away, don’t give them away.
Friends keep secrets, they don’t give them away ‘cause friendship’s a circle of love                                                                                                                                      
Friends don’t tease or laugh at me when I fall down and skin my knee
They pickme up and comfort me ‘cause friendship’s a circle of love                                            

A friend can share a gummy bear, gummy bear, gummy bear
A friendcan share a gummy bear when the teacher is not looking
 
A friend calls up and checks on me, checks on me, and checks on me
A friendcalls up and checks on me ‘cause friendship’s a circle of love

A friend is someone who talks to me, works with me, plays with me
A friend is someone who laughs with me ‘cause friendship’s a circle of love.

A friend is someone who’s always there, when I need something they will share
I‘m so glad that you are there ‘cause friendship’s a circle of love!          
Yes friendship’s a circle of love!

For a child who hasn't got a friend and whose home life is painful, this song will create new understanding, hope and a sense of possibility.

Thank you so much for all you do to make the work of Guitars in the Classroom possible. This summer, your gifts are helping us serve in meaningful new ways and we hope you feel proud. We are so grateful for your support and compassion. Please keep up your assistance by joining us THIS WEDNESDAY on July 16th for Global Giving's Bonus Matching Day!

Together we truly ARE making a difference.

In solidarity with you for children, hope, music and education,

Jess

Teachers at NTC Training
Teachers at NTC Training
Collectively Have Served Over 80 Years in Schools
Collectively Have Served Over 80 Years in Schools

Links:

Jul 3, 2014

Thank You! This Summer, 100 Teachers in Training!

Tricia de Luna, Jess Baron and Wendy Aardappel
Tricia de Luna, Jess Baron and Wendy Aardappel

Dear Friends,

We cannot thank you enough for the support you have been giving this project since its beginning. This summer marks a turning point for the work and mission of Guitars in the Classroom and it's because of you and others who feel as you do. Please allow me as the founder of this work to explain.

When we started trying to convince people that classroom teachers without a musical background could learn to make and lead music in their general classrooms, there was resistance. Great resistance as we have become a society that relegates musicality to experts, to stars. There was a toxic idea that only those born with special talent had the right to open their mouths and sing.That only prodigees deserved attention. And this idea hurt me. Because I have known since I was a tiny child that music is a life-giving river that runs through us once we find it. It carries away trouble and stress and it brings us nourishment of the soul, the mind, the heart and the community. We all need a chance to discover that river and all it accomplishes.

Fortunately for GITC, amidst to fear and resistance, there was hunger, too... hunger for making music in teachers and in people like us, from concerned families who saw their children's creative options shrinking... and from creators of musical instruments who saw the next generation opting for screens as music programs in schools declined. 

Enough people thought, "Maybe it can work. Maybe. We should see what will happen if we try."There were some key people in the beginning who believed hard enough to push this boat out into the river of change so it could catch the wind.

But finding funding, tools, locations, friends, and teachers to try this grand experiment has happened in small increments and at key moments. Advocates came through. And we started in earnest.

The people who have pulled us along from the start have been the children themselves, begging for more music. Not asking Begging. They gave their teachers the faith, incentive and motivation to try, to learn, to play and to sing.

Then YOU came along! You and individual donors like yourselves stepped in. Here on GlobalGiving, you stepped up. You let us know you LOVE music! You love children! You love learning! And you care about the old songs, the ones that bear the standards of many cultures, the ones we sing in classrooms. And you care for the new songs, the ones the children will compose and perform. These are songs that will have you as quiet benefactors. Just as the church of long ago funded the emerging artists of the baroque, you are funding the music of generations of children. They come from many countries and from parents of widely different backgrounds. Most are poor. Most attend schools with shamefully small budgets and scant resources for the arts. But their leaders have a vision. They ask us for help. And you are there with us to bring it.

This summer is different than any other we have had since 1998. There are 100 teachers who are training with us in depth in short, intense workshops lasting 3-5 days during which they will start with no musical experience and they will leave playing guitar, ukulele, singing the old songs, and writing the new ones for learning. They will feel, embrace and learn to carry the joy of music. Come August, they will meet their new students and give that joy far and wide.

Many of the teachers studying with us this summer serve military families  meaning their schools are located near Naval and Marine bases. Their students suffer from emotional burdens born of families divided by service, deployment, trauma and injury. These children struggle in school and we want to help them take heart and move forward.

Others are coming from schools around the state of Massachusetts and a large number teach special education. We will be showing these teachers ways to use music to engage children with special needs and challenges using positive language, musical dynamics, rhythm, movement, repetition, and oppportunities to explore leadership through singing and strumming.

We will share photos on an ongoing basis on our facebook page at www.facebook.com/guitarsintheclassroom. But in this report we give you photos of teachers who helped us launch the summer intensives last year and who have done so much musically this year that their classrooms have become artistic havens for kids. Meet Tricia de Luna whose children learned to play ukulele in her fifth grade classroom and who created new lyrics to learn about American History. Meet Wendy Aardaapel whose first grade students wrote original lyrics and performed their songs for learning to tell stories this year. I am in the middle, celebrating their success at a party we throw each year for teachers to share their achievements with the community in San Diego. And know your dedication to this cause is empowering hundreds more teachers like Tricia and Wendy to become musicians and music leaders for learning each school year!

Thank you so much for all you do to make the work of Guitars in the Classroom possible. This summer, your gifts are helping us serve more and serve better. We are each and all so grateful for your support and compassion.

Together we are making a difference!

In solidarity with you for children, music and education,

Jess

Students at Challenger Middle learn ukulele!
Students at Challenger Middle learn ukulele!
Teachers in City Heights Become Music Leaders
Teachers in City Heights Become Music Leaders
Teachers in Vista become Songleaders for Learning
Teachers in Vista become Songleaders for Learning

Links:

Jun 9, 2014

The Instruments Have Landed!

Melissa with a Kala Ukulele for Los Angeles!
Melissa with a Kala Ukulele for Los Angeles!

Hello, Musical Friend,

This little note is to send you a HUGE THANKS for all the help you have given to assist Guitars in the Classroom on this special microproject campaign. Congratulations! Our efforts are succeeding. The microproject has been funded and we are following through as described.

You donated funds that are helping us reach young students in impoverished areas where schools have very limited access to musical instruments and instruction and families lack the resources to afford them. You have graciously empowered us to bring ukuleles and guitars into schools in four very economically challenged urban neighborhoods.

Now we finally are making progress. It can take time to source and procure instruments that are the right kind and right size for small people. Getting instruments for them that will LAST and will sound and feel good in their hands is very important. Thanks to our sponsors at SAGA Musical Instruments and Kala Brand Music Company, we are finally able to get the right guitars and ukes. We are working in batches as the instruments become available. This week-end we will deliver 22 ukuleles to music programs in Compton, Watts, Carson and South Central and we'll bring the first batch of new guitars will go to the Fernando Pullum Comminity Arts Center in Leimert Park.

Here you see Melissa Ford and myself in the office as we are unpacking the little beauties! We want to thank you for making a dream a reality for hundreds of children who will play these instruments on a daily basis, sharing them and showing their classmates and families what they can do! As the instruments get busy in the schools, we will share photos at our facebook page on a regular basis. This way you can see the good you've done in action throughout the year. Please visit us at www.facebook.com/guitarsintheclassroom to stay in touch.

With infinite gratitude for all your do with your good will and resources,

Jess

Jess with a small classical for the Pullum Center
Jess with a small classical for the Pullum Center

Links:

 
   

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