August 1-3 we conducted our first national teacher training based on our practices and our curriculum GuitarCurriculum.com.  It was hosted at the University of Texas and 65 educators from 10 states, and one from Nicaragua, attended for 16 hours of intensive work together.  The training coincided with the rollout of our “Elementary Primer Unit,” which we shared with about 15 elementary instructors who were amongst the trainees.  Here’s a wonderful note from Leeann Atherton, Pease Elementary’s 2012-2013 teacher of the Year.

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I didn’t intended to implement a guitar program when I attended ACG and Guitar Curriculum’s guitar workshop this past summer at UT.

I wanted to learn more about teaching guitar to young people; anything to make my life as an elementary music teacher easier, and my teaching more valuable to my students! I had no idea how powerful the workshop would be. The beginning ensemble music that we played was beautiful and simple. Beginning elementary students would be playing this beautiful ensemble music on the first lesson! I was so excited by the program that I dedicated my energy to obtaining enough guitars for a class set of 22 guitars. Through fundraising, and the incredible help of ACG and GuitarCurriculum, we were able to purchase the guitars and began Classical Guitar study on the first day of school.

My 4th grade students are developing great musical skills through the study of classical guitar. Besides proper playing position, ensemble etiquette, developing great tone, reading ensemble music, developing their ear for pitch, tone, and memorization skills; the students are finding a real passion for performance and the enjoyment of playing beautiful ensemble music that is relevant. They show more self control and respect in the classroom. The silence of twenty 4th grade students in rest position as they prepare to play is astounding. Hearing the accomplishments of their musicality gives the classroom a newfound energy that is profound. Sure, they get restless occasionally, but dangling the carrot of beautiful music always pulls them through.

I look forward to their continued growth as we continue GuitarCurriculum through their final year at Pease in 6th grade.

 – Leeann Atherton

Read the previous Changing Lives story, Education: Marcum on Inspiring with Music, here.

Read the next Changing Lives story, “on fire for music…” here.