Tricia de Luna, Jess Baron and Wendy Aardappel
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,
Students at Challenger Middle learn ukulele!
Teachers in City Heights Become Music Leaders
Teachers in Vista become Songleaders for Learning