Bring Music to Special Education with GITC!

by Guitars in the Classroom
Bring Music to Special Education with GITC!
Bring Music to Special Education with GITC!
Bring Music to Special Education with GITC!
Bring Music to Special Education with GITC!
Bring Music to Special Education with GITC!
Bring Music to Special Education with GITC!
Bring Music to Special Education with GITC!
Bring Music to Special Education with GITC!
Bring Music to Special Education with GITC!
Bring Music to Special Education with GITC!
Bring Music to Special Education with GITC!
Bring Music to Special Education with GITC!
Bring Music to Special Education with GITC!
Bring Music to Special Education with GITC!

Project Report | Mar 25, 2024
Congratulations on Your Support for Ukes in Special Olympics AZ!

By Jessica Baron | Executive Director

Music Educators Exploring Instruments at NAMM
Music Educators Exploring Instruments at NAMM

Thank you, friend, for your mearningful and sustaining care of this campaign. The work you have funded in the past, assisting us in our work with Special Olymics of Arizona (SOAZ) has thoroughly caught on throughout that state!

Thanks to you, we have been able to continue to train the chapter leaders remotely, and SOAZ has created their own official adaptive ukulele program based on GITC's work. It's called Unified Ukulele. They're doing a wonderful job of including hands on music for hundreds of children and youth with special needs every week. They are ready to do so much more.

Next, SOAZ is opening 30 new ukulele programs with our assistance!  They've raised the funds to purchase 650 new ukuleles and cases for students, and we were able to introduce them to GITC partner sponsor, Cordoba Guitars. Mike T at Cordoba was able to help SOAZ with an educational subsidy discount to supply so many locations with instruments, and he even covered the shipping. What a help! Next, this summer we will be traveling to Phoenix to continue GITC training for leaders from across the state. 

This could not have happened without each of you.

With SOAZ happily and successfully embracing music, we are now facing a brand new challenge. It's a doozy. We are going out on a limb to help in a crisis, and we are doing this without any dedicated funding for the effort because it MUST be done. We are compelled to assist music teachers here in San Diego as quickly as possible.

In a nutshell, the Visual and Performing Arts division of our local district has been tasked with covering teacher preparatory periods (called prep time) across the school district. That means when teachers leave their classrooms to work on lesson planning and student supports, this is when a music teacher steps in. Classroom management skills are crucial. But music teachers are highly capable educators, and they are up to the task.

The problem comes into play when they are sent into special education classrooms to teach music without a special ed teacher in the room, and without having received training in special ed.

Special educators need prep time too. So these music teachers are instantly responsible for teaching students whose diagnoses and conditions are unfamiliar to them, and are labeled Moderate to Severe, aka Mod-Sev. The challenges range from extreme behaviors, congitive impairement, and trauma-induced psychological issues to medical conditions that may impair muscle control, movement, vision, and more. Some students are in pain. Others have very little control over their bodies or behaviors. Some cannot easily maintain focus. Music teachers need training right away in how to engage, reach, and teach these students.

Without any background in differentiating instruction for mod-sev students, or a frame of reference for understanding their students' abiliy to interact, speak, sing, or handle an instrument, the teachers are unsure how to help. GITC was approached by several of these teachers asking for assistance at a time their department has no funding for professional development. 

That has never stopped us before. GITC needs support, but so do the teachers and students. This work is needed now, so funding will need to catch up. Would you like to help?

We are excited to announce that on April 17 and 24, in collaboration with our VAPA department, we are starting a two part series training music teachers who are interested in learning how to observe, understand, and teach their special ed students responsively, inclusively, caringly, and respectfully. We'll be introducing them to Assets Based Thinking (seeing and teaching to what students CAN do, rather than limiting their instruction based on what they cannot do). We'll share adaptive instruments, special grips and tools, and teaching strategies for building interest, focus, engagement, and interaction through music. We'll also give a Make and Take session in which the teachers can create their own adaptations for holding and playing instruments.

GITC has been building up to this moment for years. In January, we held a 90 minute workshop in inclusive music instruction at the international NAMM Show in Anaheim, CA. But this moment in our district will take that training farther. 

Will you please contribute something so we can afford to equip the teachers with some critical adaptive tools and techniques? We will share photos so you see what this looks like, and we will share testimonials and stories, too. We believe this is the beginning of a new trajectory, making sure all students are included in music by bringing adaptve approaches to regular music teachers.

We are attaching the powerpoint from our NAMM Show presentation to give you a taste of this work, as well as a wonderful video about GITC's impact on students through Special Olympics Arizona. Thanks to each of you for taking time out of your day to tune into this promising move forward toward real inclusion.

A donation of any size will help. Adaptive tools can be made very affordably, so small gifts will truly change lives. Thank you very much for your compassion and generosity!



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Organization Information

Guitars in the Classroom

Location: San Diego, CA - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @GITCmusic
Project Leader:
Jessica Baron
San Diego , CA United States
$2,115 raised of $5,000 goal
24 donations
$2,885 to go
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