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Jessica Baron – Executive Director of GITC

Guitars in the Classroom (GITC) is an educational 501(c)3 with headquarters in Encinitas, California and grassroots programs operating in twenty-four states. GITC inspires, trains and equips preschool through 8th grade classroom teachers to integrate singing and playing guitar into children’s daily school experiences and lessons across the academic curriculum. This song-based learning engages students with every learning style, boosting their participation, comprehension, and memorization of lesson content while deepening their interest in what they are learning. The approach nurtures student musicality and promotes social and emotional development by helping teachers and students build a sense of belonging in their classrooms by making music together.

GITC provides easy music, guitar and singing instruction based on principles and practices from Orff Schulwerk and Kodaly as well as the Taro Patch guitar tradition. The method makes guitar an accessible instrument for everyone including teachers with little or no musical experience and even for those with special needs or substantial physical limitations. It is the essence of inclusivity. Teachers also learn to write new lyrics on academic topics using familiar melodies and chords, and they pass this skill on by facilitating cooperative student songwriting for learning.

GITC empowers educators to transform their classrooms into vibrant musical environments in which childhood creativity flourishes while skill levels, grades and test scores rise. Classroom teachers receive a beautiful guitar to borrow and musical supplies to use and keep as part of their ongoing weekly training so they may provide free, daily music making opportunities to all students in participating classrooms including over 50% who would otherwise not get this important experience. It is Guitars in the Classroom’s mission to develop, scale, and help local communities sustain these regional programs for educators, staff, volunteers, and students from coast to coast.

Each program is run by a trained GITC instructor to prepare teachers to:

  1. Provide a learning environment that encourages students to draw upon multiple intelligences through musical engagement to boost learning across the academic spectrum.
  2. Impart songs in every academic subject area to engage all styles of learners.
  3. Facilitate basic hands-on guitar experiences for students in the context of the regular classroom
  4. Boost student language and reading skills through singing which constitutes Oral Language Practice, a key component in developing fluency and mastery. This is proving to be life changing for students acquiring English as a second language at school.
  5. Create a multi-cultural musical environment in the classroom that heightens students’ appreciation of their own heritages, simultaneously broadening their cultural horizons.
  6. Build a musical bridge between music educators and classroom teachers to strengthen the musical environment in schools. This includes helping music educators become GITC trainers.
  7. Invite music educators, local and visiting artists, and the whole school community including families into the the creative process in their classrooms through collaborations, sing-alongs, concerts, and special musical projects.

 

Since 2001, GITC has received annual support from GAMA. The D’Addario Music Foundation has supported the work of the organization since 2004, and beginning in 2005, the NAMM Foundation became instrumental in GITC programs including helping GITC begin development of two program models, AMIGO (Achievement through Music Integration with Guitars- for English Learners) and MIRSE (Music Integration for Resource and Special Educators.)

For a full list of sponsors and supporters, and to learn more, please visit the website at www.guitarsintheclassroom.org and click to download GITC’s powerpoint.