Apply to Join

Special Learners Deserve Music, Too!

by Guitars in the Classroom
Play Video
Special Learners Deserve Music, Too!
Special Learners Deserve Music, Too!
Special Learners Deserve Music, Too!
Special Learners Deserve Music, Too!
Special Learners Deserve Music, Too!
Special Learners Deserve Music, Too!
Special Learners Deserve Music, Too!
Special Learners Deserve Music, Too!
Special Learners Deserve Music, Too!
Fun Items in GITC's Adaptive Music Kit!
Fun Items in GITC's Adaptive Music Kit!

Dear Friend of Exceptional Children,

Thank you so much for your caring support of GITC's efforts to make music accessible to ALL learners. This is such a big effort, really breathtaking when you think about how many decades students with exceptional needs have been left out of music education and denied access to opportunities to learn to play an instrument. We at GITC want to wake society up to every child’s ability to express themselves through music, and we intend this year to SHOW what this can look like this school year. 

Over the summer, more middle and high school special educators joined AMAISE through the online instruction, so our musical reach to students has expanded greatly. 

And this fall we have also opened a second level AMAISE online teacher training that provides individual coaching to the teachers participating in these teaching artist residencies now or who will begin later in the school year. 

We are now launching ten AMAISE-ing classroom teaching artist residencies. Our first residencies are taking place online as most districts are providing online or hybridized instruction. These are collaborative endeavors with highly engaged teachers who have completed our AMAISE training and are now ready to adapt music for their students with exceptionalities! Our teaching artists are now equipped with instruments to share with their classroom co-teachers and with students.  We’ll be keeping you informed about these residencies, called “Single Skill Teaching Artist Residencies” or SSTARs.  

Each SSTAR offers one-on-one music coaching from our teaching artist to a highly engaged AMAISE-ing special educator while they work with an individual student whom they have identified as being receptive to learning through music. In order to participate, each exceptional student needs a Home Music Helper (HMH) who will support them during the music session and continue to make music with them between sessions. In this way, not only will the special educator learn to lead important adaptive techniques with the student, but music can become a part of that student’s life at home everyday. In our three years of piloting this approach in person with students and HMHs, we have seen many families experience greater happiness as they develop new skills and appreciation for each other through the joy of interacting musically. 

Each one of us has the power to encourage the people around us and these days, a little encouragement can go a very long way to make someone's day or give them hope. Thank you for encouraging all of us at GITC with your generosity. Your participation helps us spread the light and we are very grateful.

With you, for all the children,

Gail 

Links:

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

Dear Friend of Exceptional Children,

Thank you so much for your phenomenal support of GITC's efforts to make music accessible to ALL learners. We wanted to share a story about an AMAISE-ing classroom with you.  These are classrooms with highly engaged teachers who have completed our AMAISE training and learned how to adapt music for achievement in inclusion and special education classrooms through GITC.

Shortly before schools closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic we went to visit an AMAISE-ing classroom for the first time. We brought the REMO Comfort Sound giant tabletop drum and set it up so every student could approach it at an advantageous height. One by one, the students worked through their initial uncertainties and came over to try it out.

Within half an hour the students who would normally remain disengaged or unfocused had each come to the drum, made sounds, built rhythms together - an enormous social and emotional feat - and were playing together. The wonder, joy, and connection were astounding! 

To top it all off, when parents and grandparents came to pick up their students at days end, they were introduced to the drum by their excited youngsters who were ready to perform for them. Their teacher said, for one student in particular, this was the first time he had ever received a positive report.

Music reaches into deeply receptive and creative places inside of each of us. It inspires and makes us capable in ways we never before imagined. We each possess this gift and unless we know this, we need someone caring to help us find it. Your support and generosity make this possible.

We hope you will continue to support this effort and share the good news of your involvement with your friends. Each of us has the power to encourage the people around us and these days, a little encouragement can go a very long way to make someone's day or give them hope. You are helping us spread the light and we are very grateful.

With you, for the children,

Jess

Links:

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
AMAISE GOES EAST POSTER
AMAISE GOES EAST POSTER

Dear Friend of Exceptional Children,

Thank you so much for your phenomenal support of GITC's efforts to make music accessible to ALL learners. We're writing to share some great news! Thanks to your gifts, we are able to stretch the dollars we were given by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Nordson Charitable Foundation and the Kennedy Center to offer a new - additional - 2 day AMAISE conference for special educators, therapists and teachers in inclusion classrooms this spring. We are heading to East County San Diego to serve there for the first time.

On April 15-16, 50 educators and specialists who work with children who are neurodiverse or have exceptional needs will receive two full days of free training in adaptive percussion, singing, ukuleles, songwriting and high tech instruments! We'll give special workshops on implementing music for social emotional awareness, for mindfulness, and for special techniques that help autistic students calm and integrate their sensory experiences and learn to self-regulate their responses to frustration during the school day. With better tools to help navigate the complex terrain of a busy classroom and school, our special students will be more able to learn, to connect with peers and to feel really good about themselves. The importance of all of this cannot be overstated.

The key skills GITC teachers and students will gain by learning to make music will far exceed the sheer musical value of the training. That said, making music for its own sake is  exceptionally valuable for anyone and we are glad to provide this as well. 

What we have seen so far after the Adaptive Music for Achievement in Inclusion and Special Education trainings end is remarkable. Many teachers are implementing music the very next Monday! They are sending us notes about profound, immediate student outcomes. Some are reporting that within 1-2 weeks, nonverbal students are actually speaking.

We will begin researching the exact reasons for these leaps and bounds with a small group of highly engaged teachers and students in San Diego beginning in 2 weeks. From the 20 participating classrooms, 2 in high needs schools will be selected and studied in depth by three supervisory level teachers in 2 regions of our school district. This is the first time we will have this kind of ongoing assessment taking place.

I look forward to bringing you news from the San Diego AMAISE-ing Classrooms later this spring. In the meantime, we hope you will continue to support this effort and share the good news of your involvement with your friends. Each of us has the power to encourage the people around us and these days, a little encouragement can go a very long way to making someone's day or giving them hope. You are helping us spread the light and we are very grateful.

With you, for the children,

Jess

Links:

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Terry Tasby
Terry Tasby

Dear Friend of Students with Special Needs,

Today's update is a close up interview with one of our most dedicated special educators. the AMAISE-ing Miss Terry, As you probably know, AMAISE stands for Adaptive Music for Achievement in Inclusion and Special Ed. And when Terry started coming to GITC classes, there was no such thing. Dedicated and caring teachers like her are the reason we took on the charge of developing a distinct and comprehensive approach to adapting music instruction for students whose needs span a wide array of medical, cognitive, behavioral, neurological and psychological conditions.

My name is Gail and I am the Programs Manager for Guitars and Ukes in the Classroom. At the GITC AMAISE conference in October, I had the opportunity to chat at length with special education teacher Terry.  She works with special needs preschoolers in the Los Angeles Unified School District and is passionate about making a difference for her students, her school, and her community. Even though the recent conference was for teachers in San Diego Unified, Terry made the journey to join teachers here and help out. 

GITC Founder, Director, Jess Baron introduced me to Terry and asked that I get to know her better. "She is always here with a smile, ready to learn, explore and assist, " Jess told me. "Let's find out where all that passion and dedication comes from. Terry is very special!" Fortunately the conference, funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts gave me a chance to watch Terry in action and visit with her at length. 

When I asked Terry how she became a Special Education teacher she laughed and said that throughout her career she always comes to something “backside first” - she takes an unconventional path to arrive where she is meant to be. We find this is the case with many people who become special educators, resource teachers or music therapists. They tend to have discovered the importance of the work and their own propensity to innovate. 

Terry grew up in Southern California and she was marching to the beat of her own drum even as a teen.  When she graduated from high school she rebelled against parental expectations and went into the workforce instead of continuing her education.  After a number of years in a wide variety of jobs, Terry took a position working with residents of the Orange County Jail in Santa Ana, California.  She discovered that their literacy skills were extremely low, severely limiting their opportunities as adults. In fact, a recent study showed that 70 percent of inmates in California prisons are functionally illiterate. When Terry saw the inmates low level of literacy it made a strong impression on her. She realized she would make a bigger impact if she helped young children gain those skills.  So, in her 40’s, Terry decided to go back to school and complete her education. She entered Mills College through their Resuming Studentprogram and in 1999 earned her teaching credential.

For the next eight years Terry was a general education teacher in grades Kinder and first. This gave her a close view of how students acquire spoken, written and visual language. It got her wheels turning! During that time she took Quinn’s GITC training, and discovered how music could enhance her students’ learning.  GITC's songwriting Lyrics for Learning made sense to her. And like most teachers who come to GITC, Terry shared that she had no musical background “at all!” This did not dampen her enthusiasm a bit. In fact it made the chance to learn to make music even more important. She now strums the ukulele and writes songs for learning, integrating music into her classroom every day!

In the summer of 2007 Terry moved to Los Angeles.  She thought it would be easy to get a job, but discovered there were no K-5 General Education teaching positions available.  While standing in the Human Resources office she saw an announcement that the L.A. Unified School District was hiring general education teachers who were interested in teaching special education. Terry immediately registered for Special Education training and was assigned her first class that fall.  She started using, and writing, songs and chants for her special needs students right away.

Terry has attended several AMAISE conferences as well as other GITC events.  She says each deep dive into the GITC curriculum adds layers of knowledge, and she always gains more confidence in her abilities.  I asked her what she would offer teachers who are thinking about taking the GITC training. She said, “I see my kids make so much progress!  If I can pick up a uke, cold, with no musical background, you can do it, too!”  

Terry’s vision is to take GITC outside her classroom to become a more integral part of her school and ultimately make a bigger impact in her community through music.  She wants to be known by all the kids in the school as “the fun uke teacher” and encourage other teachers to bring GITC to their classrooms. She loves how music crosses over into students’ learning and their socio-emotional development.  GITC brings more structure to her classroom, enhances learning, and makes everything more fun!

AMAISE Conference, October 2019, San Diego
AMAISE Conference, October 2019, San Diego

Links:

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Gentle strummimg soothes souls
Gentle strummimg soothes souls

Dear Friend of GITC and Musical Inclusion,

I am writing to thank you for the lift you have given our work creating musical inclusion for students with special needs. We've just completed our first two AMASE Conferences. These were initially supported by compassionate donors like you who believed in the work. And thanks to those early gifts, we were able to write grants to three benevolent foundations. All agreed to help with this important mission and we could not have gotten this far without YOU! Please feel our love here. Now the Nordson Foundation, the Qualcomm Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts are each lending their support and prestige to our efforts now.

AMASE was our name for this work last year. It stands for Adaptive Music for Achievement in Special Education. Now we are seeing so many general classroom teachers signing up for the training because they have been tasked by their school districts to include more students than ever with identified special needs. These days, any elementary classroom will most likely have 5-10 students whose challenges may include special challenges. The word used to describe these classrooms in "Inclusion." So we have renamed AMASE into AMAISE: Adaptive Music for Achievment in Inclusion and Special Education!

This summer in Chula Vista Elementary School District and in San Diego and our 42 surrounding county-affiliated districts gathered to participate in 2 days of AMAISE training. Special educators, staff members, therapeutic specialists and inclusion teachers  joined together for two days to learn to play, share and adapt music making for their students. They learned to play drums and percussion, led adaptive drum circles, and incorporated movement with hand percussion. They learned to play ukelele and guitar, sing, teach and lead songs for learning. They composed and co-wrote original lyrics for teaching Social Emotional Learning, classroom rules and academic content, and well, so much more!

Not only did they learn with our team (Desirée Cera, Dan Decker, Amanda Johnson, Sam Cadwell and myself), they also benefited from workshops and trainings given by awesome guest presenters.Ashton Fulcher and Ignatius Nguyen of Urban Beats/Pathways presented on addressing mental health through hip-hop, rap and movement. Educator of students with hearing impairment or blindness, Mimi Seney shared her interventions for teaching music using specialized techniques. Lead trainer for the Beamz Interactive, Tom Reidy showed teachers how to use their table top laser light musical instrument with midi files, and music therapist Lindsay Zehren with Resounding Joy led drum circle instruction using Remo Comfort Sound adaptive drums for students with Austism everyday.

Music therapist and Founder of the Music Therapy Center of California, Julie Guy gave a dynamic workshop on ways of using music to calm, focus and channel the energy of students who are prone to feeling overwhelmed and reverting to aggressive and destructive behavior. Her techniques empower teachers to circumvent that possibility or address it with sounds and songs that help them regain self control quickly and successfully.

AMAISE participants left each conference feeling equipped, inspired and ready to bring music into their teaching this fall. We will be following up with everyone and starting teaching artist visits to their classrooms to help them get into the swing of music leadership beginning in September. Please stay with this project and support these courageous teachers to achieve their goals of giving music to their students every day. Let's help them succeed this year!

Our charity us immensely grateful to the dedicated leaders from Visual and Performing Arts and Special Education divisions of the San Diego County Office of Education, San Diego Unified School District and Chula Vista Elementary School District. We owe the progress that was made this past school year and summer to the advocacy and support of these great individuals and their unanimous receptivity to our unusual approach to making music accessible to ALL students.

We hope this news has lifted your heart as someone wanting to improve the quality of education. When power is invested in people who genuinely care about the students and staff, such good things can happen.

With devotion to this mission and doing this work on your behalf,

Jess

 

 

Hand-Eye Coordination & Rhythm!
Hand-Eye Coordination & Rhythm!
Songwriting Lyrics for Social Emotional Learning
Songwriting Lyrics for Social Emotional Learning
Comfort Sound Tabletop Drum
Comfort Sound Tabletop Drum

Links:

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
 

About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.

Get Reports via Email

We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

Organization Information

Guitars in the Classroom

Location: San Diego, CA - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @GITCmusic
Project Leader:
Jessica Baron
San Diego, CA United States
$12,520 raised of $15,000 goal
 
150 donations
$2,480 to go
Donate Now
lock
Donating through GlobalGiving is safe, secure, and easy with many payment options to choose from. View other ways to donate

Guitars in the Classroom has earned this recognition on GlobalGiving:
Add Project to Favorites

Help raise money!

Support this important cause by creating a personalized fundraising page.

Start a Fundraiser

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence

Snorkeler
Our
Impact

Woman Holding a Gift Card
Give
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle
GlobalGiving
Guarantee

Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.