Our Program Models

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! The Strum & Sing classes are offered at these levels sequentially: Beginner, Beginner Plus, Strummer, Strummer Plus and Song Leader.

 The AMIGO Program
Achievement through Music Integration with Guitars

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. AMIGO relieves fear and shyness for new English 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.

This eight-week class 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.