Our Programs Are Made to Matter and Made to Order!

Fay Elementary TeachersGITC Offers essential musical training that includes singing, ukulele, basic acoustic guitar and song leading for adults who want to help teach through the power of music and song.  We welcome absolute beginners and help everyone feel and keep the beat, sing naturally, hear pitch, sing in tune and express music genuinely.

Songwriting is a wonderful part of this process, too. Classes are fun, supportive, and easy. We don’t rush… the journey is worth enjoying.  Along the way, GITC offers four different kinds of training depending on the needs in the local schools and the interests of the trainers and teachers.

A happy school is a school that sings and plays!

GITC offers inclusive after school and workshop style professional development classes to educators, school staff and Summer Intensivecommunity volunteers in a school setting. We also offer in-class coaching for teachers in training, helping them learn to implement music for learning during academic lessons. We also train music teachers so they can make uke and guitar a part of regular music classes. This hand in hand relationship between music education and music integration leads to strong, healthy and creative partnerships.

final-GITC-Dixie-CardiffAnyone working with students is welcome to join GITC classes. This includes Preschool-6th classroom teachers, specialists, office staff, school support staff, therapists, teaching assistants, classroom volunteers, even security guards and transportation workers. Adults who share music with students on the playground, in the nurse’s office, in a speech and language session, on the school bus, on the P.E. court and making a difference! There is nowhere music can’t go- even the quiet places. Librarians are some of our most devoted participants, using music to teach literacy. Our focus is on elementary education but we are happy to include teachers from higher grades as long as they are enjoying the experience and finding it useful.

GITC wants to involve and include everyone in music because of its power to break down barriers, relieve stress and unite everyone working with students in song. The more adults in the school who are comfortable singing and playing, the happier schools become. Making music for learning truly improves school culture and creates new opportunities for general music education programs to grow. This is what we want most of all- for music education to be strong for the sake of music as a fine art and also as a medium for positive self-expression, classroom community building and academic learning every subject area.

As long as funding has been raised to hold a new class, we can offer the next level of training so teachers can return and keep growing. Most participants complete both Beginner and Beginner Plus classes. Many move on to Strummer and Strummer Plus classes. The most musically devoted also take a Songleader level class and the highest level which is what we call Rock Star!

GITC trainings include these options:

After school training courses for teachers & staff
  • 6-8 weeks of 1 hour after school for teachers every week
  • 4-6 weeks of 90 minutes after school for teachers every other week
Intensive trainings for teachers & staff
  • Two 2-hour intensive trainings back to back
  • Two 3-hour  intensive trainings back to back
  • Summer intensives are 5 days, 3 hours a day.
Artist Residencies for individual teachers and their classrooms
Artist residencies are typically 1 hour weekly.
  • A short term project focused residency includes 3-4 visits.
  • A short term gradual sequential release coaching residency includes 6-9 visits.
  • A long term co-teaching residency include 12-20 visits.
Strum & Sing
Learn to Play Guitar, Sing, Lead Songs, and Facilitate Student Songwriting

This is our basic model that trains teachers, staff, and volunteers to play simplified guitar, sing and lead songs first in Open G tuning, then in standard tuning. Strum & Sing training aims to get everyone comfortable on the guitar and applies to teachers in every grade and teaching environment. It includes songs that appeal to children of all ages, on topics that are taught across the grades. Teachers also learn to write songs for teaching lessons by applying specific song forms to the lessons at hand. Once they can do this, they learn to help their students do the same. They may also- at the Strummer levels of the program- learn to facilitate hands-on experiences with guitars in their classrooms!

Singing songs loaded with new vocabulary and important ideas helps students acquiring English as a second language learn faster than ever. The magic is Oral Language Practice or- in regular terms- learning, using, and repeating the new language as a natural and fun part of singing songs in class. Singing to learn English relieves fear and shyness for new speakers because they can sing in their new language with their classmates. It is practice in a joyful, shared experience in which everyone participates equally. Pairing the sung lyrics with a projected lyric sheet gives students an auditory environment in which to learn to identify sounds and learn to read words and sentences.

This after school training program helps teachers working with English Learners (ELs) make the most powerful difference possible for their students. Test scores go up with the students’ ability to memorize new language and reproduce it at test time by singing silently to themselves. The proof is on the paper because these songs really stick, boosting student understanding and competence in every different subject area.

The program has been generously funded by The NAMM Foundation.

Early Childhood Education
Musical Learning When It Counts the Most!

Young children acquire language and musicality at the same time if given the opportunity because these skills occur in the same parts of our brains. Between birth and six, we humans experience rapid brain development. So getting music into the lives and hands of young children when they are learning everything from sounds, letters, and words to numbers, colors, weather, transportation, feelings, and so much more truly sets them on a musical path to success.

Of course, preschools have always been filled with music. But few early childhood educators actually know how to play guitar, write songs with children, or how to facilitate musical learning beyond singing familiar songs. Many lead songs using cassettes or CDs or by singing unaccompanied. Playing live guitar is so much better because it allows the music to be led in a way that is responsive to the children, and it gives the teacher a powerful tool for captivating the students and keeping them engaged. It also builds everyone’s ability to sing in tune and with feeling. The early childhood educator who models being a music maker for young children may inspire them to similar achievement.

The GITC ECE program trains teachers working with children from ages birth to six to instill basic musicality in young children through the integration of songs, games, activities, movement, and fingerplays.  Teachers also learn to facilitate first hands-on experiences for young children with guitar and ukulele as a part of this program. These programs happen in Head Start classrooms, early learning centers, daycare centers, kindergartens and preschools.

MIRSE (pronounced “mercy”)
Music Integration for Resource and Special Education

Students in Special Education classes or who receive services through their school’s resource program often miss out on making music at school. They may be pulled out of class to see a specialist during music time, or may not be visited by the music teacher at all unless they are in a mainstreamed classroom. GITC aims to help these students receive daily integrated musical experiences to help them learn, grow, enjoy school, and excel. Sometimes making music proves to be the way students who learn differently can really shine. No matter what, it can help them connect with other students and engage in challenging lessons.

MIRSE is a pilot program intended to develop ways that special educators can lead music meaningfully for students with special needs through differentiated instruction. This works because music is so adaptable. When a teacher has many ways to vary the dynamics, tailor the song choices, physically adapt the use of instruments, and spotlight students to do what they love and help lead the music making, she can create break through experiences for her students.

This year, GITC looks forward to working closely with the staff at TERiinc.org to learn new ways to provide integrated musical learning for students in all of TERi’s programs.  In 2013-14, we hope to offer MIRSE trainings more broadly, based on discoveries and best practices established in this exciting pilot program.  To learn about TERi’s mission and vision, please visit http://www.teriinc.org/about-us/mission-a-vision.html

Please share our Stories of MIRSE: Musical Miracles, a beautiful compilation of stories about music’s power to change the lives of individuals with special needs, written by GITC faculty members, here. We hope you enjoy them.