Learn About Us
Welcome to Guitars in the Classroom (GITC)!
Our non-profit educational organization was founded in 1998 as an experimental program with the Santa Cruz Community Music School. The experiment proved fruitful and we were “adopted” by the San Francisco Foundation Community Initiatives Fund for many years, until our programs exceeded the geographical range of the SFFCIF, and we got out on our own. In 2007, we became our own non-profit.
GITC (or “git-see” for short) provides free music integration classes for educators and school staff working with children of all ages in educational settings. We show teachers how to make music, lead music for learning and how to write songs with students in order to enhance and deepen their learning experience in every subject area. Participants also learn how to select or create songs that fit into the lessons they plan to teach. Learning to sing and play guitar is a core part of the training and leading students in singing, songwriting are equally important. GITC classroom teachers also learn effective ways to arrange songs for satisfying musical participation. Integrating music helps students learn everything from English and math, to science, physical education, social studies, visual arts and more!
Getting Around the New Website
To view our PowerPoints and brochures, please visit our Outreach page! To watch GITC videos that demonstrate how everything works and makes a difference, please visit our Videos page. To see photographs and artwork from our programs, please visit our Gallery. To see where programs are located, please visit this page, and if you already know what class you want to take,- and you have verified that it is running and has room, you can register here. This newly designed website is pretty intuitive, so we hope you’ll make yourself at home.
Wonder what students gain in their GITC classrooms? Here are results that GITC classroom teachers are making possible and witnessing every day:
- Increased engagement and participation in classroom learning
- Greater memorization of facts and figures in every subject area
- Deeper connection to and caring about lesson content across the curriculum
- Cooperative learning skills
- Listening skills
- Increased creativity and problem solving skills
- Better language skills including reading, writing and verbal expression
- Improved self confidence
- Higher motivation for academic endeavors in general
- Improved grades and test scores in all subjects
- Heightened regard for and bonding with the teacher
- Strengthened sense of “belonging” to the classroom community as a “choir”
- Musical awareness and abilities
- Hands-on musical skills with hand percussion, guitar and/or ukulele
- Songwriting ability
- A sense of inclusion with peers through group singing, songwriting and performing. This translates to a feeling of unity in a diverse group and promotes friendship
- Multicultural learning through culturally diverse styles of music and songs
- Access to musical learning in the regular classroom on a daily basis
- Positive pride in artistic outcomes
More About How GITC Works
78% of the teachers we train work in Title I schools. We work in every kind of community- from large urban centers to remote agricultural communities and everywhere in between.
In 2010, we also started accepting community volunteers into our trainings, as long as there are available spaces and the volunteers are dedicated to assisting school staff in facilitating classroom music making for students.
Our group Music Integration classes train up to 24 teachers and participants at a time for 6-8 weeks at a time. Classes meet once a week after school for an hour. We meet in schools, music stores, or community centers that donate teaching space to our cause.
GITC training makes it possible for anyone working with children in an educational setting to learn ways to integrate music making in daily instruction. This includes helping teachers and staff members learn to play simplified acoustic guitar and to sing comfortably, to teach students songs with confidence, lead them successfully in singing together, and also to facilitate collaborative student songwriting for learning as part academic lessons!
Our org exists to encourage educators to discover, trust, and grow their artistic teaching skills through music and unleash the power of learning through embedding lesson content in unforgettable, fun songs. We supply everything we can, including loaner guitars so the school does not need to worry. We are able to do this because of our generous sponsors. To see the companies that make GITC possible, please visit our Sponsors page.
GITC programs have helped thousands of children to do better in school. We’ve now trained over 9,000 teachers and each teacher reaches, on average, between 76 and 99 students with music each week.
GITC has helped new teachers to develop stronger teaching skills through the arts and helped mid-career teachers to find new creativity and effective classroom management strategies through music. The programs have inspired veteran educators nearing retirement to re-approach teaching with a new-found passion for leading music. This work has even helped struggling schools raise their Annual Yearly Progress (AYP) scores because it boosts academic engagement and performance.
GITC assists students who are building language skills because singing literally puts words in their mouths. And song forms give them a fun-filled reason to repeat these words and phrases. In no time, students have memorized new vocabulary and can use it with full understanding. Plus singing with classmates motivates them to practice those words again and again. Reading lyrics from the page or smart board while singing reinforces reading skills at the same time, and along with that comes spelling, syntax, punctuation, grammar and all the rest!
Is GITC Music Education?
GITC is not Music Education as we have known it, but GITC is creating a more musical approach to education as part of learning any subject. Teachers and students will acquire important musical skills in the process of participating in lessons that are musically infused. Our programs work very well in schools that have music education classes, strengthening the role of music in educational environments.
In schools that are working on reviving their music programs, GITC holds the door open to learning and loving music in the general classroom. We train the classroom teachers to lead songs for learning throughout the school day and this provides children with the essential musical learning that happens as a part of that simple activity. Often this leads to after school guitar clubs, hands-on guitar playing during the day, and a student population that is very interested in taking music lessons after school! We believe that general music education is important to child development, quality of life and to our culture and hope our work with GITC helps every school in our musical circle build thriving core music education programs.
What teachers are experiencing and employing in their GITC classrooms:
- Renewed excitement about teaching
- A vehicle for demonstrating and encouraging courageous learning and sharing
- A powerful teaching modality that makes information “stick”
- A teaching medium that lends itself to individualizing instruction
- An innovative way to engage English Learners in oral learning without anxiety
- A teaching approach that includes all styles of learners in the lesson together
- A vehicle for helping children with special needs “shine” while constructively channeling their energies in a classroom setting
- A platform for cooperative and project based learning through student songwriting groups
- Personal fulfillment of an artistic dream that transmits hope and happiness to students
- A teaching modality that lends itself to all forms of cognitive process through song forms
- A method of instruction that presents immediate and constant evaluation of student comprehension
- A way to impart and support musical learning for students in cooperation with sequential music education.
What the Teachers Are Saying…
These testimonials are brand new and come from teachers from around the Boston area who just took our first ever one week intensive where they met for 3 hours each day for a week:
“I LOVE GITC! This truly changes my life after less than a week! Not only do I feel that I can better the learning and lives of children, but that I can also teach adults, open their minds. I think GITC should be a requirement…for life!”
“I love the GITC program. It really has been very fun and engaging. It is a positive learning experience that I can walk away feeling confident playing guitar in my classroom.”
“GITC is the best thing that has happened to me personally, professionall, spiritually in a long time! I am a musical person by nature and GITC has filled the void that connects all of the most
important parts of my life. I want to do my lessons plans when music is involved!! I’m going to recommend this program to ALL of my teacher friends!! Thank you GITC!”
“The GITC program has not only contributed to my bag of tools as an arts teacher, but has also required that I get a bigger bag! This program will help to bring music appreciation, content learning, community and joy to my classroom, my students, and myself! Thank you for this amazing professional development opportunity!”
“GITC Rocks! I had no idea that after 3-4 days I would be writing, singing, playing and performing songs. Everyday I leave class on a huge high. Hopefully we can bring the program to the Boston area. I
can’t wait to share my new talent and knowledge with the children and families I work with.”
Who Can Be a GITC Trainer?
Some of our trainers are music educators and others are community music leaders. We look for warm, relaxed, accepting people to bring onto our faculty because we believe musical learning is best achieved through a joyful experience! If you are interested in becoming a GITC trainer, please visit the pages on the site just for you, starting with Train Teachers.
If you think you’d like to help start a new program or enroll in a class, assist teachers or volunteer with GITC, we invite you to continue exploring the website and please get in touch. We are so glad you’ve come to visit and hope you’ll decide to join us!Click to enlarge