Mission: Our mission is to transform pre-k through high school classrooms by training teachers to integrate musical learning in lessons in order to increase student engagement, employ oral language practice, and promote student achievement across the academic curriculum. In our free workshops, teachers learn to sing with confidence, play guitar, lead songs, and to select, teach, and facilitate the student writing of educational songs. This daily integration of music with academic learning provides positive, inspiring musical access for all students as part of the regular school day.
Results: Guitars in the Classroom (GITC) has trained over 10,000 classroom teachers and specialists in 32 states and 10 universities and has reached more than a million students with free musical learning during the school day. Our work is boosting student literacy and language learning in classrooms in underserved (Title 1) schools across the country.
In 2010, students in GITC classrooms scored significantly higher in all areas of language development, including vocabulary, reading comprehension, and language fluency compared to students in classes taught by teachers who did not know how to integrate music. These statistically significant results came after teachers trained with GITC for only 8 weeks. A stunning 94% of the teachers reported they were able to sing with their own classes, with just 6% still developing confidence in this area. GITC employs the power of music and creativity to engage, harness, and drive children’s growing intellects while supporting their social, emotional, cognitive and physical development.
Target demographics: 78% of the teachers we train work in Title 1 schools and have children with disabilities and special needs in their classrooms. 51% are teaching English Language Learners. They tell us how the work engages their students more deeply and passionately in learning across the curriculum. For many, it’s making the crucial difference between failure, marginal participation and success because singing gives them “oral language practice” – the chance to articulate, practice, and memorize what they are learning- out loud. The music making also promotes bonding between students, teachers, and peers. Test scores prove the benefits.
Direct beneficiaries per year: Teachers who train with GITC reach an estimated 900,000 students every year with daily exposure to music in the classroom.
I've been involved as an instructor and coordinator for Guitars in the Classroom for several years. Through their guitar-training program, I have been able to work with over 75 educators in that time frame, with guitar instruction as well as song-leading instruction. These teachers overwhelmingly bring these guitars back into their classrooms, (often the next school day after the first guitar session!) and integrate music into their every-day education. This impacts their students immediately, engaging even the most difficult-to-engage students with the music. Through their training, the teachers are empowered to be creative with music-making as well as given the tools to be creative in finding ways to teach their core curriculum using music/the guitar. I've seen many teachers pass this creative-work on to their students, asking them to do song-writing to help them remember concepts - or (in the case of younger students) to help them through school-day transitions, and remember basic class procedures. All-around, the impact has been overwhelmingly positive and with the support of the music industry in providing the basic supplies needed for these classes - we can, (and do) do a lot with the resources we have. I love being an instructor and coordinator for GITC!
This has been such a wonderful gift! I stumbled onto this organization because I wanted to share my skills and wished to touch into other lives, it has done what I expected and has pushed me to give more of myself. I can only speak for myself when I say that this program has given me the avenue and confidence to train and teach students to accept the diversity of the community and of skills that are brought into class, honor communication by singing and writing music and celebrate the expression of soul all while enjoying the playing and learning about the guitar.
I've been a GITC instructor for five years. GITC has given me everything I need to fill a critical educational need in my community--providing music education to students by regular classroom teachers after school music programs were eliminated by budget cuts. I've been able to train over 100 teachers, providing ongoing music education to thousands of students in the local area. GITC provides the curriculum, guitars, accessories and training to make this possible. The ongoing support is timely and unfailingly generous. My collaboration with GITC has helped me grow professionally and personally.