The Music For Life Alliance is a 501c(3) charity that supports the work of organizations and people who make music learning accessible to young people. Founded by fingerstyle guitarist and international raconteuse Muriel Anderson, The Music for Life Alliance has been assisting our work at Guitars In The Classroom periodically with regional program grants. But this year, Muriel and her board surprised us with a grant far exceeding previous support by contributing $5,000!
This new funding is making two long desired goals of ours possible this summer: making summer intensive training possible for teachers who do not have time to learn with us during the normal school year, and bringing GITC’s work to our neighbors up in Canada! For many years, teachers in our programs here in the United States have had the pleasure and privilege of learning to play guitar with beautiful instruments and supplies donated by our Canadian sponsors, Godin Guitars and Levy’s Leathers, respectively. Our teachers here have learned to play and lead songs by a range of remarkable Canadian singer-songwriters including Joni Mitchell, Gordon Lightfoot, Ann Murray and others. Finally, thanks to the Music for Life Alliance and the NAMM Foundation, we are taking our building a bridge for sharing this work over the border.
Next week, GITC founder and executive director, Jessica Baron will depart for the province of Ontario to train classroom and music educators in the region of St. Catherines, not far from Niagara Falls. With guitar support from Robert and Janet Godin, longtime suppliers of gently used guitars for classroom use, and with educational coordination from Jayne Evans, Arts Consultant for the Niagara Catholic DSB, Guitars in the Classroom will be introduced to teachers at every grade level and in multiple subject areas.
This initial one week intensive is just the first of the Canadian efforts to be funded by the Music For Life Alliance. A second training at the Canadian Music Educators Association’s annual conference is slated to follow in November. At that time, teachers from around the country will have the chance to participate, bringing music to thousands of students in Canada, each day as a result.
Guitars in the Classroom extends its most sincere thanks to the organization’s founder and board or directors, and also to the NAMM Foundation whose work has been helping us lay the groundwork and coordinate the reach to Canada for the past year. Finding artful advocacy and practical coordination for work that breaks new ground within a strong, existing school system across the international border has been challenging indeed! But with the friendship and funding from both these organizations, July marks a very exciting new path for our work making music a part of daily learning across the K-12 curriculum in Canada.
As a special treat, Robert and Janet have agreed to visit the intensive in person where Robert will give a talk to the participants and local music community on his work and the fine art of guitar design and building!
Please follow our adventure and progress next week on facebook by visiting our page for daily posts from the road by Jess.