Lead Strumming and Singing to Learn!
Teachers, empowering your students to strum and sing together as a modality for learning can dramatically improve their focus, engagement, absorption, comprehension, cooperation and listening skills and increase their overall learning.
Strumming has a calming effect on kids. It regulates their breathing, attunes them to a group rhythm and sound, taps them into the power and beauty of music, gives them a foundation for creative self and group expression. It’s magical.
Students love the experience so much that they will readily regulate their own impulses and behavior in order to receive the privilege of playing an instrument in class. When you set the parameters and make the expectations known, they are quick to be helpful because music is so special.
Music has a way of transforming student’s ideas about themselves in the most positive ways, giving them incentive to do well. They discover a passion and a talent inside that they may have never felt before. Many feel so good about making music that this transfers to self-esteem and hopefulness. Their hearts blossom under the influence of the sound and feeling of strumming strings.
You can be the reason this happens for them. Learning to play and sing in our free classes is a great beginning. Getting instruments into their hands with an approach that lets you determine, guide and modulate the learning experience is crucial. This blog will give you some ways to accomplish that.
Whether you are training with us or not, you will want to refer to our free Classroom Music Integration Handbook for implementation guidance. Please write to programs@guitarsintheclassroom,org to request a free copy. This provides you with games and activities that really work.
Great Ways to Acquire Instruments for Students to Play
PTOs and Parents: Music speaks to parents. Raising funds from the PTO or a class parent or grandparent can be easy. Your PTO is your first stop to ask support for instruments. So many GITC teachers are given a quick and enthusiastic YES! when they ask for funding to get a set of ukuleles or guitars. And if you let the need be known in a note home to families and ask if anyone would like to donate to this cause, someone with a musical heart will often step forward. They can even donate the funds to GITC for a tax deduction and we can help you make the purchase.
What to Ask For: If you determine the cost of a ukulele at an average subsidized price through GITC sponsor companies of $20-$30 each, a PTO or parent gift of $300 will get you 10 ukuleles that students can share. We recommend one instrument for every 2-3 students. If you determine the cost of a GITC sponsor-company student guitar at $50, a grant of $300 will get you 6 guitars.
GITC sponsor company subsidies make it possible for you to acquire classroom-only instruments at a reduced price IF YOU HAVE FUNDS IN HAND. The subsidies are not available through donorschoose.org. Whatever they tell you the value of specific instruments are, those are retail (normal) prices. But some GITC sponsor companies are committed to helping you and your schools afford to get guitars and ukuleles for your students’ use in your classrooms at a very reduced price. They realize you may be attempting to help students on a shoestring budget!
Their generous instrument subsidies make it possible for schools to use a small portion of their discretionary funds, or PTO support to make sure your GITC classroom can give students the chance to strum, sing and learn! You are also free to use funds you acquire for this purpose in other ways such as crowdfunding or individual donations to your musical endeavor. If you can acquire dedicated funding to purchase instruments from GITC sponsor companies, you will get a big discount. Please email us at info@guitarsintheclassroom,org and request specific sponsor ordering information. We will get it to you right away. One link we are permitted to share here is for products being discounted for you by Korg, US in their wonderful Tanglewood line. This includes the ukulele book, the Union ukulele and all sorts of nice guitars, as well as PitchClip electronic tuners. You can look at their internal store set up for you to shop direct right here.
Classroom Use vs. Home Use: The subsidized instruments are for school use only and they are not intended for home use. Sending your class set home puts instruments at risk. If one is broken, pawned or stolen, the emotional toll that takes on a student is tough. No one needs to go through this. We also don’t want to take family business away from local music stores, we want to build it! The stores provide a valuable service to the community and they need new customers to survive in this competitive day and age. We will support you to find a cooperative music store to receive families who want to provide an instrument at home.
Subsidized instruments for school are yours to use and if you transfer to a new school, they come with you. The idea is that your students can learn to play with you at school where you can share, supervise and protect the instruments. When students or families wish to purchase a ukulele or guitar for playing at home, please direct them to your favorite local music store and make sure they know what kind of instruments their children are playing at school. We are in the process of reaching out to those local music stores as well and ask them to provide discounts to GITC families! If you can let us know what store in your area to call, we’ll do the rest.
Not for Sale: GITC strictly prohibits any resale of those instruments. Our special assistance from manufacturers to you as GITC teachers is truly given only to you and not to anyone else. Companies are excited you are willing to help children learn through music. We respectfully request that you keep any subsidy ordering information we give you private so we can keep bringing you these great opportunities in the future. It’s very important that we support local and online music stores. The best thing we can do to accomplish this is to teach children to play, then respond to family requests for information about purchasing instruments for home use by referring them to music stores that carry guitars and ukes made by the companies that assist GITC. Then everyone has a chance to thrive. GITC does NOT sell anything. We only want to help you find the instruments you want, then we step away. Our charity provides services.
Get Funded by Contributors through Donors Choose: Donorschoose.org has already helped dozens of GITC trained teachers acquire musical instruments at no charge! There are a couple things to keep in mind when you post a project at https://www.donorschoose.org/ Following this advice carefully is key to your success.
- Write a compelling description of how music will benefit your students. Speak to their needs. Children living below the poverty level in need of opportunity? English learners who can develop language skills faster through music? Special education students who will latch onto learning through music?
- Speak to your own initiative to learn to play and lead by taking classes on your own time with Guitars in the Classroom. This shows donors you are serious about music and have invested your precious time and energy
- Add a photo that shows students playing guitar or ukulele. If you do not have permission to share a photo from your class it is no problem, Simply visit our facebook page, click on “Photos” and download one of ours. All of them are there with full permission. https://www.facebook.com/guitarsintheclassroom
- Research the instruments that are available to you through DonorsChoose.org. For ukuleles, we recommend you request either the soprano Makala Waterman ukuleles if you want a plastic, durable ukulele or Tanglewood Union ukuleles (concert size) with Aquila colored strings for a slightly bigger, wooden uke. Both will hold up well in the classroom and very child-friendly.
- Ask for no more than $500 of instruments or musical supplies with EACH DonorsChoose grant. Small asks are granted and matched at a much faster rate than large ones. If $500 only gets you part of what you need, create a second project once the first one succeeds. You can repurpose your writing from the last project.
- Let GITC KNOW! If you send us the link to your project, we will post it on our facebook project and help it along.
Here are a couple of very successful past projects from GITC teachers on DonorsChoose.org
We will continue to add to this blog in the coming days, sharing about our generous sponsor companies. Please stay tuned!