Skeptics and musical Scrooges might find incorporating music into the classroom beyond the allotted time for band and choir useless and counterproductive to a child’s education. Fortunately for the rest of us there is an organization that begs to differ. Guitars in the Classroom (GITC), a non-profit organization geared at bringing music back into the classroom, is attempting to make music one of the key building blocks to a child’s education. What GITC does is educate teachers with basic competencies on musical knowledge and even provide them with the skill-set to lead a song service on the guitar. These song services vary from interactive song writing lessons, singing standards ranging from Bach to Old MacDonald, but most importantly these songs are picked apart and rearranged to teach grammar, math, and other academic fields. Recently the GITC, in collaboration with Alfred Music Publishing, released The Green Songbook geared at spreading environmental education amongst grade school kids. The songbook includes songs by Jack Johnson, Ben Harper, Ziggy Marley, and Michael Jackson, to name a few, and even comes with a sing-along CD.
On top of this, Guitars in the Classroom has started songwriting sessions in the classroom. One classroom wrote a song entitled: “The Honey Dew Blues” in a collaborative effort that incorporated all of the students.
The exercise of writing music not only positively stimulates the brain by strengthening memory and creativity, but it also provides kids with the tools they will need if they one day aspire to be songwriters. Did I also mention that it is just plain fun? With educators often finding it difficult to retain their students’ attention for more than a few minutes at a time, Guitars in the Classroom is doing a fantastic job of giving teachers alternate, fun, and most importantly, effective methods of reaching their students.