Guitars in the Classroom Receives National Endowment for the Arts Grant

San Diego-based national nonprofit, Guitars and Ukes in the Classroom (GITC) has been awarded a generous grant of $30,000 to provide free educator training by the National Endowment for the Arts. The grant, announced earlier this month, will be utilized to train special educators, support staff and teachers, and to facilitate student learning through making music adaptively so all learners may participate.

This is the second year the NEA has chosen to fund GITC to empower interested educators everywhere to close the music opportunity gap. In 2020- 2021, the nonprofit will achieve this through the creation of dozens of music facilitation and song leadership videos from GITC’s AMAISE-ing Classrooms™ Program. The videos will cross-train teachers in inclusive percussion, ukulele, singing and electronic instruments. In addition, the work done with support from the NEA will include free live weekly online AMAISE (Adaptive Music for Achievement in Inclusion and Special Education) classes for teachers and staff during the absence of in-person staff school-based trainings throughout the pandemic. Further, when social distancing is no longer necessary for health and safety reasons, GITC will produce a large day-long training workshop for AMAISE-ing Educators to gather and make adaptive music in the San Diego area, then in Los Angeles.

GITC’s work has promoted cross-curricular and social-emotional learning and wellness for children through music and “the power of song” by training, equipping and inspiring education professionals with free group courses after school since 2000.

“13.7 % of all students in the United States have autism or other special needs,” explains GITC Executive Director Jessica Baron. “Guitars and Ukes in the Classroom is immensely grateful to the National Endowment for the Arts for infusing this funding into their AMAISE training so that more teachers and students in special education classes can access the power and benefits of learning through music every day. Because of this grant, students with identified special needs who receive support services in the general education classrooms will also have a better experience participating in making music when their teachers learn adaptive teaching strategies and get special accessories that can make the musical instruments easier to hold and play for students with physical challenges.”

Since launching AMAISE in San Diego Unified School District mod-severe classrooms in 2016, GITC has seen teachers reach and inspire students with diverse physical, cognitive, sensory, medical and emotional needs to participate successfully in learning by making music. AMAISE is leading to powerful breakthroughs for many whose teachers are developing music leadership skills while creating “AMAISE-ing” classrooms. Many of their teachers are reporting that music is ‘the only thing that’s working’ during the pandemic to fully engage and uplift these children.

About Guitars in the Classroom

Guitars in the Classroom (GITC) is a nonprofit dedicated to creating access to musical learning for all students and improving the quality of education by providing ongoing musical training and resources to educators. GITC trains, provides supplies and coaches teachers who wish to lead and integrate hands-on music with lessons in English, language arts, math, science, social studies and more. GITC’s work promotes teacher effectiveness, student engagement, collaboration, creativity, communication, critical thinking and academic achievement! GITC is headquartered in San Diego, Calif. and offers online classes and in-person school-based courses for teachers from coast to coast in the U.S. GITC’s programs are free. Learning through music boosts academic engagement and success, imparts literacy skills and makes 21st Century Skills a natural part of learning. For more information, visit: www.guitarsintheclassroom.org

About the National Endowment for the Arts

Established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts is an independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the Arts Endowment supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. Visit arts.gov to learn more.

GITC has been active in the Los Angeles public schools for 15 years supported in part by Guitar Center, LAUSD and the California Arts Council. For more information, visit:  www.guitarsintheclassroom.org

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