Welcome to our Stories page!
Making music is a universal experience that transcends the boundaries of traditional teaching. It penetrates the mind, heart and spirit; it engages the body in keeping time and producing melody; it holds our attention. Music brings students into community with one another and simultaneously tunes them into their own thoughts, feelings and creativity. Sharing music in the classroom also creates stronger, more personal relationships between teachers and students.
Because GITC teaches through music, our work is blessed with its magnificent power to make a difference on many levels and in many ways. Music speaks to almost all of us, no matter who we are or how we learn. Hence, GITC has musical stories to share from trainers, teachers and students who have found that making music is changing their lives. This page will bring you these stories on an ongoing basis.
This summer, thanks to grants from The NAMM Foundation and GAMA, the Guitars and Accessories Marketing Association, Guitars in the Classroom is able to share stories of transformation that have happened in the lives of students who have special educational, physical, and emotional challenges. The MIRSE Project (pronounced “mercy”) is our pilot program for developing techniques and best practices for making music in resource and special education classrooms. MIRSE stands for Music Integration for Resource and Special Education.
Our first MIRSE pilot program took place last school year in Lee, Massachusetts, a small community in the western part of the state. Teachers and principals from the area’s five schools participated in this large class of 27 special and mainstreaming educators who were trained by GITC faculty member Robin O’herin. (To learn more about Robin’s background, please read her story and bio.) This is Robin and her student, Michael.
This group was wildly enthusiastic, returning each week to share success stories of musical experiences they were conducting in their classrooms. The program worked with teachers of students with disabilities in 21 categories ranging from blindness and deafness to abuse trauma. GITC knows that this first exploration has opened the door to a path of discovery we plan to pursue through the years ahead.
Below you will find a pdf available for download that contains stories written by participants in our programs from around the country. They reveal surprising ways music has mattered to students with very different kinds of challenges- attention deficit, cognitive disability, autism, trauma and neglect, brain injury, blindness, and hydrocephaly. We hope the stories will encourage people considering making music a part of learning in special needs classrooms to take the next step.
Guitars in the Classroom wishes to express its gratitude to GAMA and to The NAMM Foundation for its generous belief in and sponsorship of the MIRSE project. We are looking forward to working closely with the staff at a fabulous organization based in Southern California called TERi Inc. to further develop the MIRSE program in 2012-13.