Jan 22, 2019

Happy Birthday Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.!

March On Selma- We Shall Overcome!
March On Selma- We Shall Overcome!

Hello GITC Supporter.

We are writing to wish you a happy holiday as we celebrate the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. You might ask what this important man's work has to do with songs for hope, help and healing. The answer is simple.

The success of Dr. King's work has been attributed to many things, and one of them is the inclusion of songs for hope, determination and inspiration. This article will bring you, our supporter, a phenomenal look back at the ten songs that were most sung during the fight for equal rights.

We are excited to share that several of these songs will be included in our songbook which is under construction and will be ready to share this spring. In honor to Dr. King and the work that was done to abolish segregation and move toward inclusion-  and the hard work ahead that must still be accomplished- we will devote a section of the songbook to these songs. Foe any child fighting for their human rights, their self esteem, their justice, these songs can give them strength and purpose.

The 8 songs include:

We Shall Overcome

We Shall Not Be Moved

Aint Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around

Woke Up This Morning With My Mind Stayed On Freedom

This Little Light of Mine

Go Tell It on the Mountain

Eyes on the Prize

Oh Freedom

Thank you for your support of this project, We hope teachers in all the classrooms who receive it will teach at least one of these songs every year at this special time. Like us, we know you are looking forward to seeing it to its conclusion this school year! 

With gratitude,



Dec 28, 2018

Starting 2019 Stronger Thanks to You!

Laurence Juber Makes a Difference
Laurence Juber Makes a Difference

Dear Supporter,

All of us at GITC are so grateful for your support throughout the school year. Thanks to each of you for giving to this important cause. Because of you we are bringing music to kids who would otherwise not have the chance to become musical. With your help, they are learning play a real instrument, sing songs that uphold musical traditions,  sing together as part of something larger than any one person, and build what they are learning into songs they remember. This is the stuff that makes learning inspiring and fun...and long lasting.

Because you care, we were able to train 450 teachers this fall, place instruments into classrooms in 10 states, send teaching artists to make a difference in 24 high poverty primary classrooms, share adaptive music strategies with special educators and leaders from Special Olympics, improve our instructional materials, make our websites friendlier for visitors and educators, and so much more.

Today we want to share one cool thing that happened recently. We were able to bring Grammy award winning composer, arranger, recording artist and super fingerstyle guitarist, Laurence Juber to give a master class to 110 young guitar students at Correia MS and Point Loma High School in San Diego. Experiencing artistic mastery and being able to ask questions of the artist is enough to inspire students to aim higher, practice longer, and achieve more.

These guitar students listened with great enthusiasm to this former member of Paul MacCartney's band Wings. They gave their rapt attention as Laurence blew them away with his stylings and helped them draw direct connections between medieval and classical compositions and popular music over the past 40 years. He taught them about the evolution of the guitar beginning in ancient times with the oud and medieval times with psaltery, lute and cittern. He brought students forward through time and across continents, performing excerpts from his latest recording, Touchstones. You can read an interview with him about this historical musical journey here: https://www.laurencejuber.com/touchstones/ 

When GITC is able to bring a renowned artist to a school to work directly with students, we are able to nurture young people from their first experience with making music, into more advanced pursuits. LJ was there with us in the beginning and now, 18 years later, he is still raising the barre for bringing acoustic guitar into the realm of excellence in music education. We are immensely grateful for his heartfelt appreciation!  You can learn more about his music and life at http://www.laurencejuber.com/.

Overall, we are writing with great news. Winter classes will be launching in 12 states in early 2019. 300 guitars are being donated to GITC by Israeli superstar, David Broza, and we just got an amazing donation of guitar and ukulele strings from Kala Brand Music so every classroom can have instruments with fresh strings. Human kindness like yours is going to give more kids than ever the chance to discover the power of music to improve life, boost creativity and health, and impart learning in 2019. Please stay with us. Your charity is working!

On behalf of our board, faculty, staff, volunteers, teachers and most of all, the children, we wish you a truly blessed year ahead!

Let there be peace on Earth,


Mary Jennings-Mull's students' first concert!
Mary Jennings-Mull's students' first concert!


Nov 5, 2018

A Beautiful School Launch for Beautiful Children!

Training SpEd Teachers at Wegeforth
Training SpEd Teachers at Wegeforth

Dear Friends of Special Learners and Music,

Thanks for staying with us in the endeavor to include ALL students in music making. There might be so much good news to share that we'd run out of room telling you about it all this Fall. To keep this report short. we will focused on the way forward! Because you gave and supported the birth of this work, we have been able to show the value of it to foundations and get more support. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving this initiative its foundation.

As you know, last July, GITC trained 45 special educators and paraprofessionals to adapt music at our first Adaptive Music Conference for Special Education. Thanks to the NAMM Foundation and Museum of Making Music for hosting this!

Based on an outpouring of gratitude and enthusiasm from participants, GITC applied for three grants to carry this work forward over the next two years. We requested support to advance musical inclusion in 2018-19 from Qualcomm Charitable Giving, the Nordson Foundation and from the National Endowment for the Arts for 2019-20. Our goal is to fully develop this approach here in San Diego, then create pathways to share it with educators nationally.

We created a name for the project, "AMASE" which stands for Adaptive Music for Achievement in Special Education. The awesome SpEd leaders from our lab at Euclid Elementary- Val Simons, Tony Nguyen and Lisa Winkless helped create the pitch deck and our staff member, Gail Wingfield has edited and beatified it. It is attached to this report for you! We hope you enjoy it. Board president Scott Fischel and Classroom Angel, Eric VanBuhler supported me to make the first pitch at Qualcomm. Then the Steve and Karen des Jardins helped us prepare to meet with the grant committee at Nordson. It truly took a village to get the work this far! Thanks to each of you who has helped.

In October, both Qualcomm Charitable Giving and the Nordson Foundation voted to award GITC funds that will support us to offer a second training to participating SpEd faculty, and to hold a third Adaptive Music Conference in the summer to welcome another 45 teachers to this work! You can see the big plan in the deck. (We won't know about the outcome of our NEA grant application until next June.) Our focus is provide training and instrument support to every interested SpEd teacher in our local school districts (San Diego County Schools and San Diego Unified Schools). By helping here first, we can create a destination others can visit, and where we can constantly observe and assess the effort. 

In the meantime, Behavioral Specialist, Desiree Cera has joined our faculty this autumn. She is bringing her expertise in music, psychology and behavioral strategies to this work at a high level and already has some very moving stories to tell. Our forthcoming newsletter features a story on Desiree and her work with GITC at Wegeforth Elementary. This includes photos and videos, too! If you wish to see the article, you can read it as a blog at our website, and please feel free to register to get our monthly enewsletter here if you are interested.

We look forward to keeping you in the loop as the next trainings take shape. We welcome your input anytime! Let's make this an extraordinary year together so special learners can express themselves in a new way, surpass expectations, and show the world their beauty through music.

Thank you for being our partner for the kids. We hope you will keep this project in mind if you donate on November 27th during GlobalGiving.org's awesome matching and bonus opportunities on Giving Tuesday!

With you, in service,



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