Mr. Greg Goodman is Director of Fine Arts for Austin Independent School District and is our primary administrative partner in our educational programming that reaches over 2,000 students each day in 40 Austin schools.  Recently we were asked to write an article about our program and we asked Mr. Goodman a few questions about his perspective on our work.

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Austin Classical Guitar: What do you see as the benefits of classical guitar education programming in AISD?

Greg Goodman:  The number one benefit of the classical guitar education program has been the opportunity to address cultural diversity through a rigorous art form.  We have seen increased student, family and community engagement with the particular program.  Austin Classical Guitar has done an incredible job of increasing quality and access to a new art form that has allowed a diverse option for our students.

The Austin Classical Guitar program is a strong, innovative, and collaborative partnership between our schools and the staff of Matt Hinsley. We are immensely grateful for the support we have already received in the area of curriculum and teaching strategies. We have seen positive changes in students who have embraced guitar as their means of expression.  The partnership has grown dramatically over the past 5 years and has enabled AISD Fine Arts to increase family and community engagement. 

ACG: What have the challenges been?

GG:  Some of the challenges around implementing a classical guitar program have centered on creating a rigorous curriculum and establishing high expectations for teachers and staff.  With the assistance of Austin Classical Guitar we have established high expectations for our schools following the framework established by UIL in bands, orchestra, and choir.  The staff at Austin Classical guitar has created an incredible curriculum guide and standards for our teachers to follow.

ACG: What advice would you give to other districts or schools considering starting a guitar program?

GG:  I would encourage fine arts administrators and teachers to embrace this genre and to celebrate this opportunity to meet the needs of students that we typically have overlooked.  There is no reason to fear this program but instead an opportunity to help guide and build the expectations of a rich art form that celebrates music in a platform rooted in history.

In addition, the Austin Classical Guitar program supports the two arts-focused initiatives currently happening in AISD: The Kennedy Center Any Given Child partnership and our arts integration Creative Classroom partnership with the MindPOP collaborative. The arts are incredibly important to our district, and we welcome the Austin Classical Guitar program in our schools. 

We really believe this program helps to impact student learning in Austin Independent School District by offering opportunities for students of all cultures.

(Students from Travis High School performing prior to Les Freres Meduses International Series Concert under the direction of Susan Rosanc.  Photo by Arlen Nydam)

Read our previous Changing Lives story: from Ed Collins, A Community Guitarist