Guitars In The Classroom
December 27th, 2010

For Immediate Release
Guitars in the Classroom

Foundations and Hawaiian Airlines Team Up to Launch

Guitars in the Classroom Programs in Hawaii
(December 27, 2010, Encinitas, CA)- This month, the collaborative work of four foundations, four sponsoring companies, arts organizations, artists, individuals, and Hawaiian Airlines has successfully empowered Guitars in the Classroom (GITC) to bring free musical teacher training to the Hawaiian Islands. On December 4, forty pre-kindergarten through high school teachers began learning to integrate music making in their daily instruction of Hawaiian students. With a special emphasis on teaching eco-sustainability through music using GITC's forthcoming publication, The Green Songbook, teachers participated in trainings held at University of Hawaii in Pearl City, Oahu and in Kahului, Maui, and at Elementary Schools on Oahu and Maui. Local individuals organized everything and brought these programs together.

GITC's founder and executive director, Jessica Baron, was flown by Hawaiian Airlines from California to teach these workshops. "We are blessed by the aloha spirit of the Hawaiian people who are embracing this opportunity to integrate traditional Hawaiian music, slack key guitar, along with other arts into education through this work," said Baron. "We hope GITC will become not just a way to make learning more meaningful, engaging, and effective for students, but a vehicle for Hawaiian musicians and Kupunas (elders) to help the next generation embrace their beautiful musical past in the present as a part of preparing children to carry it forward into the future."

Hawaiian public schools have been under financial siege, narrowly avoiding seventeen school furlough days this year in exchange for the teachers' professional development days. General music education programs in most Hawaiian elementary schools have been depleted if not entirely eliminated and as a result, many general classroom teachers have recently been informed that they must now teach music in addition to academics. Yet few have ever received basic musical training or instruction in teaching music and many find themselves unprepared. "Music education is a core subject that builds critical aptitudes and skills along with creativity in students, and loss of these programs is tragic," explains Ms. Baron. "The arrival of GITC cannot make up for this loss, but giving classroom teachers skills and coaching that empowers them to include music as a tool for teaching can help keep children's musicality growing as part of learning everything from Science to English. It's a win/win proposition for the schools, the teachers, the children, and for preserving Hawaiian musical traditions. Hawaii's new governor has expressed support for the arts and education - we look forward to spreading GITC through communities in Hawaii in the years ahead."

Bringing the initial training and supplies to Hawaii would have been prohibitively expensive if not for the generosity of musicians and their foundations as well as the NAMM Foundation and Hawaiian Airlines! Jack Johnson's Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation, guitarist Muriel Anderson's Music for Life Alliance, and Keola and Moanalani Beamer's Mohala Hou Foundation have all contributed to making the first four training programs possible. Teachers have now received guitars and supplies courtesy of KMC Music, D'Addario & Co., Levy's Leathers, Dunlop Manufacturing, and regularly weekly classes for teachers, continuing throughout the school year, will begin in early 2011. For more information about GITC in Hawaii, please write to

About Guitars in the Classroom

Guitars In The Classroom is a non-profit organization that provides innovative musical training for classroom teachers so all students can experience the joy and essential benefits of making music. Its programs deliver ongoing instruction, access to instruments, and educational materials that weave music across the academic curriculum in sustainable, grassroots programs, nationwide. For further information or to get involved, please contact GITC at 760-452-6123 or go online at