Submitted by Jess Baron, Executive Director
San Diego, CA 9/11/22
What happened when an AMAISE-ing group of home hospital teachers, special educators, classroom teachers, paraprofessionals, and support service providers gathered yesterday at Whittier School? Devoting their own Saturdays to a full day of voluntary training in adaptive music, they sounded amazing!!
AMAISE stands for Adaptive Music for Achievement in Inclusion and Special Education.
It is pronounced, "amaze!"
Thanks so much to all who helped put on and carry out our first in person gathering since 2020, including GITC staff members Gail Wingfield and Stiina Luedtke! The photos below are chronological and give you a snapshot of the day. We welcomed many first-time participants in GITC from San Diego, and a great representation from East County school districts as far east as Lakeside, and from the Inland North, as far as Escondido and Vista! Kudos to all of you, including you passionate, creative mod/sev teachers from our own San Diego Unified School District!
We are exceptionally grateful to the NAMM Foundation, our contract with The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, as well as Kala Brand Music, West Music, the D'Addario Foundation, the Nordson Foundation, CECO, the San Diego County Employees Charitable Organization, and the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture for their support of these sequential trainings so all educators and support staff may participate at no cost, and receive training and musical supplies for their classrooms! We send love to Karen and Stephen des Jardins of Encinitas, CA whose contribution gave AMAISE it's very first opportunity to train educators in 2018.
Please enjoy these moments from the first Saturday AMAISE for the 2022-23 school year!
Thank you to Molly Stewart, Gingerlily Lowe, and Reagan Duncan
for sharing the photos in our gallery!
Back in May, 2021, Guitars & Ukes in the Classroom received a mysterious gift from our amazing board member and Education Committee Chair, Dr. Joan Maute. A large square, lightweight package containing 500 beautiful, high quality kazoos made by the Kazoobie Kazoo Company in Beaufort, SC, was about to brighten all of our lives! Joan had sourced these American made, high quality, dishwasher safe kazoos, and we just had to figure out how to integrate them into our work.
Guitars & Ukes in the Classroom is grateful to the kind folks at Kazoobie Kazoos, and to Dr. Joan Maute, for giving everyone the world's funniest and easiest way to make music.
JAMBAR – THE NEW ORGANIC ENERGY BAR THAT SUPPORTS MUSIC STUDENTS!
We are so excited to introduce you to JAMBAR, Guitars in the Classroom’s newest sponsor. Jennifer Maxwell, creator, mom, musician, natural foods baker, and co-founder of the original super popular energy bar PowerBar, has come up with a scrumptious new organic energy bar especially for student who need nutritional support, including music students and athletes! We are so grateful to her friend, musician-poet Don Paul, for introducing GITC to Jennifer. This kind of caring for kids is why GITC continues to serve and grow.
JAMBAR combines innovative proteins, gluten-free ancient grains, real chunks of fruit or premium chocolate, and authentic sweeteners from nature. This is a healthy after school energy booster for students who have had a long day and are heading into extracurricular activities and homework. Jennifer dreamed it up in her kitchen, and now these bars is fantastic natural fruit flavors are in production in San Rafael. Super cool that the food production is housed in the Grateful Dead's old rehearsal studio (pre-kitchen of course). Good vibes abound.
As a musician, a drummer no less, Jennifer understands that musicians need energy to make their beautiful music. She has a big heart for hungy music students, especially those in economically challenging circumstances who may not be able to afford high quality snacks. To provide them with this fun, positive nutritional support, she and JAMBAR are donating 50% of their after-tax profits to help get this REAL FOOD into students' hands.
GITC is an early beneficiary of the “JAMBAR Gives Back” program! JAMBAR made its initial contribution of 588 bars in every flavor to our music education partner, San Francisco Unified School District, so hungry SFUSD music students could experience the benefits. Thank you, Jennifer Maxwell for your incredible generosity!
JAMBAR makes delicious organic energy bars that provide excellent fuel for cyclists of all levels. Since Jennifer and her late husband Brian started making PowerBars in 1985, energy bars have become a go-to, and we can tell you first hand. JAMBAR is head and shoulders above the others. JAMBAR was created with the goal of helping people feel good about the ingredients they put in their bodies, and the positive impact they can have on their local communities. We're so happy they've joined the GITC community to create musical opportunities for ALL learners.
SDCCU Presents the Fourth Quarter 2021
The Green Songbook features Nancy Shimmel's wonderful song,
"Every Third Bite"
which joyfully raises awareness of how bees contribute to the earth's ecology, making it possible for plants of all kinds
living creatures everywhere.
please explore these resources below.
Re-Homing a Wild Hive video
Honeylove Be-Rehoming in Santa Monica
San Diego Bee Re-Homing Expert
Colony Collapse Disroder Progress Report, 2020
moving a live colony and their beehive safely out of his roof!
By Abby Dorsey
Miss Duncan is the ideal person to talk to her students about changing the world, as she herself is currently shifting the culture of her entire public elementary school in Vista, California towards making music. After a chance meeting on a San Diego street corner with Guitars in the Classroom’s founder Jess Baron, Miss Duncan signed up to take her first ukulele class. She was immediately smitten.
“I’d been looking for this thing -- something that would help me shift my students’ trajectory in life, ” she explains. “My school has the highest number of homeless students in the district. Many of my students are English language learners. My biggest hope is always to shift their trajectory with small, positive changes. Even if it’s just three degrees, it has the power to change their lives when they are adults.”
Miss Duncan found the effects of the ukulele to be just that -- life changing. Just as she started her GITC training, the pandemic hit, and she was forced to make the transition to distance learning with a whole new set of challenges. How would she keep first graders engaged over Zoom? How could she convince six year olds to show up to class online when school attendance was already a challenge for them before COVID-19? The answer, it turns out, was right in her hands.
“I started playing ukulele and singing songs with my students virtually last spring and immediately noticed that my language learners were picking up words faster with music,” she explains. “So when distance learning continued this fall, I decided that even though I was still teaching virtually, I was going to teach my kids to play the uke, and they couldn’t just watch -- they needed it in their hands!”
Reagan put a call out on Facebook for friends to help her fund instruments for the students to play at home, and in about a week, she had enough donations to empower GITC to provide a ukulele for every child in her class with subsidized support from Kala Brand Music, one of Guitars in the Classroom’s enduring sponsors.
“Both attendance and participation are higher because the music helps keep kids engaged. We pick our ukes up throughout our lessons each day to practice grammar, syntax, basic structure and punctuation. It translates so well into language arts and brings new vocabulary into their world through song. I never feel like I’m wasting my time as a teacher when I add music to my lessons.”
Neither, it seems, do other educators at Miss Duncan’s school.
Since starting her training with GITC, Reagan has inspired sixteen more Maryland Elementary staff members (including the school psychologist, school nurse, and both special education teachers) to enroll in the program. This January everyone is taking one of GITC’s Total Beginner or AMAISE for Beginners courses!
We’re pretty sure they’re going to get there.
Spreading the Joy
Of course, Miss Duncan isn’t stopping with just recruiting teachers from other classes; she’s also actively fundraising to start student ukulele clubs for each grade level. She hopes that the model her school is building will serve as a point of inspiration and reference for other schools in the district. She already raised donations to empower GITC to provide 14 beautiful concert sized Tanglewood Tiare ukes through GITC’s partnership with Korg’s Educational Division called SoundTree. These larger instruments are wonderful for the 4th and 5th graders who are starting a ukulele club in person, socially distanced, outside next week!
“I found love and passion for playing the ukulele and teaching with it,” shares Reagan, “and now I’m helping to create a culture of music and learning through song with my colleagues and our Maryland Elementary students,” she explains. “It brings me so much joy to see the kids enjoying it, and when someone feels inspired, it’s contagious. THIS is the virus I want people to catch! I want them to catch the musical bug and be excited, and just keep doing it!”
Support Miss Duncan's Ukulele Clubs HERE!