Guitars in the Classroom is dedicated to training, equipping and empowering Pk-12 teachers to enrich academic learning across the curriculum in Title 1 schools by infusing music-making into lessons and activities throughout each school day. Our work brings the power of music to enthrall students straight to the heart of learning, boosting their engagement, participation, critical thinking, creativity, collaboration and communication skills. By providing free ongoing training and access to guitars and ukuleles, we help schools strengthen the presence of music during and after school.
By offering teacher training, coaching, instruments and supplies to participating classrooms, GITC helps students utilize “The Three S’s” (Singing, Strumming and Songwriting) to achieve Common Core and 21st Century learning .
As participants in the President’s Committee for Arts and Humanities Turnaround Arts Initiative and San Diego’s Title I for the Arts program, we are aligning teaching English Language Arts and Math with Music Education standards. Working closely with school district Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) departments, we welcome credentialed elementary music educators to train with us to become GITC faculty instructors and partners in school-wide musical learning.
In addition to improving student engagement and academic performance, our work helps teachers build positive classroom communities, instilling in students a sense of belonging and agency in their own learning.
Local and visiting musicians and musical teaching artists also play a vital role in GITC. Meet our newest additions to the GITC Artist Advocacy Team right here!
When students feel, move, sing, strum and write songs together about what they are learning, school becomes a joy.
Through partnerships with district Visual And Performing Arts (VAPA) departments, Guitars in the Classroom is also working toward making guitar and ukulele a positive part of general music education. We believe that only music integration and music education together can supply students with a strong musical foundation for learning music, learning through music, and developing into musicians for life.
What We Do
Based in San Diego and active in 32 states in the U.S. and Ontario, Canada, Guitars in the Classroom offers ongoing programs to classroom teachers, specialists and staff who want to make learning into a dynamic, musical process that fully engages students. We provide loaner guitars, ukuleles and musical supplies free of charge to participating teachers. Our classes are taught on a weekly basis after school, or on professional development in-service days as well as during week-long intensive summer workshops.
Founded in 1998, Guitars in the Classroom has now trained approximately 10,000 Song Leaders for Learning who are serving well over half a million students each week. Our train-the-trainer model makes it possible for experienced community music leaders to share their skills and knowledge with regular classroom teachers including those with no prior musical experience.
Our open tuning approach (based on Hawaiian “taro patch” tuning) makes for a pain-free beginning to playing and a smooth, gradual transition into standard tuning when teachers are already able to strum, sing and change chords fluently. Open tuning also provides a simple and satisfying way to place instruments in the hands of their students as part of playing and singing their lessons in math, science, language arts, social studies, physical education and more.
Music teachers also train with us to learn a successful method for making guitar and ukulele a natural part of their general music curriculum in accordance with Orff Schulwerk and the Common Core State Standards. Some of them become GITC faculty trainers!
Guitars in the Classroom also teaches eco-sustainability in the schools through power of songs written by artists and teachers who are devoted to living in balance with the planet. Please have a look at our Green Songbook here.
The GITC Vision
We envision a future in which there is a guitar in every classroom, a set of ukuleles or guitars that students can play and share daily, and a time when singing and strumming are an integral part of learning math, science, social studies, language arts and more throughout the school day.
Based on what children experience in GITC classrooms, we know this integration of music boosts their motivation, confidence, participation, self expression, cooperation, communication skills, and of course understanding and memorization of academic processes and facts. It all adds up to happiness, creativity and increased success in school…as well as a passion for making music. Please join us in making this a reality for all children.
And to stay informed of the latest tools for music education advocacy, the most recent research on music’s impact on learning and keep your finger on the pulse of musical learning in its many forms, please visit our friends at The NAMM Foundation right here.
How can you help Guitars in the Classroom without spending an extra nickel? Shop on Amazon through the Amazon Smile Foundation Portal! When you do your shopping at AmazonSmile, they donate 0.5% of the purchase price to Guitars In The Classroom. Bookmark the link http://smile.amazon.com/ch/71-
Teachers, we have two songwriting efforts for students and teachers going on right now. Please join in the creativity and inspire your students!
First off, GITC is partnering with the non-profit My Hero Project to create a way to celebrate heroes and heroic ideas and action through original songwriting. Simply write a song, make an informal recording, submit it and… you and your students may win! Learn more by clicking HERE!
The second effort is what we are calling the The Community Voice Project started by some wonderful GITC advocates on the east coast. They have invited us to ask students what in the world they would change if they had a magic wand! This is a great class discussion starter. Your students’ answers will be shared with a team of accomplished GITC-involved songwriters and musicians to create songs to reflect what children are thinking and feeling about life on planet earth. You can participate with this tiny survey.
And for those of you looking for our Common Core Wheel for Music Integration, here it is!
Our new address is: GITC 2770 Historic Decatur Rd., suite 203, San Diego, CA 92106
Our new office phone is: (619) 578-2326