What good can music do in the world today?

This is our guiding question at ACG.

Our mission at Austin Classical Guitar is to inspire individuals in our community through musical experiences of deep personal significance. Virtually everything we do is founded in our belief that music can be a uniquely powerful force for positive change in people’s lives – change in how we view ourselves and others, and how we understand the world around us. Through nationally-recognized education programs in schools that engage thousands of young people every year to personalized engagement services in hospitals, clinics, and shelters that bring comfort and hope to people in crisis, to concert programming that showcases the talents of artists from around the world, ACG seeks to leverage the power of music to help people find connection, meaning, and joy.

ACG Education

ACG’s largest programming area is education, which includes a range of services and resources designed to support classroom-based guitar programs in schools. Since launching in one classroom in 2001, we have refined a model for guitar education that has proven uniquely successful at drawing new and more diverse students into the arts, and keeping them engaged over years. In the last 20 years we have expanded our reach by building strong partnerships with schools and districts, who agree to add guitar as a new, for-credit fine arts course, and grant our team access to their campuses to work with teachers and students. Today, our local programs alone include over 50 schools in central Texas, enrolling thousands of students each year. Through our online curriculum resources, teacher training systems, and community partnerships across the country, ACG is helping bring music-making to classrooms far beyond Austin. Along with our core support-based services, ACG has earned national recognition for its groundbreaking guitar education programs for visually impaired students at Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired and Letsplayguitar.org, an online curriculum and song database of braille music that Is used by thousands around the world. ACG’s commitment to removing barriers to arts education is also exemplified in its Free Lessons Initiative, which provides weekly private lessons and instruments to dozens of central Texas students enrolled in guitar programs in Title I schools

Juvenile Justice

Since 2010, Austin Classical Guitar has provided guitar classes for youth in residential detention and treatment centers. Our programs, currently at three facilities in central Texas and two in Dallas County, are the only performing arts classes in the Texas juvenile system that enable participants to earn Fine Arts credits. ACG’s work with incarcerated youth has received national attention for its impact, and because of how rare arts education is in the juvenile justice system. In a recent survey commissioned by the National Endowment for the Arts, researchers were unable to identify any other for-credit performing arts education programs for incarcerated youth in the entire country. The students who participate gain the skills to play guitar beautifully, in both solo and ensemble formats. But more importantly, through the approach we have refined for teaching music in juvenile justice settings, and with the expertise and care of our teachers, the guitar classes can have a profound impact on the lives of the young people who take part.

Music & Healing

ACG also pursues its mission through Music & Healing, a program introduced in 2014 that offers individualized engagement to people experiencing mental or physical health diagnoses, incarceration, homelessness, and other challenges.  ACG works with partners such as Dell Children’s Hospital and the Salvation Army Women and Children’s Shelter to offer a range of initiatives that use music to promote healing and connection for people in difficult circumstances. Among these programs is the Lullaby Project, a unique arts intervention that pairs ACG teaching artists with new or expectant mothers for a collaborative process leading to the creation and recording of an original lullaby for her baby.

Artistic Programming and Community ensembles

ACG services also include youth and adult ensembles, and award-winning artistic programming that ranges from concerts with international artists to award-winning original productions that draw upon the voices and experiences of individuals in our community.