With school beginning next week, we’re busily preparing for what will be the highest demand ever for our educational services. So we thought we’d take a moment to give you some of the latest news about the outreach that your support makes possible.

Changing Lives ACG builds and supports high quality classroom guitar programs in schools – over 35 this fall in Austin alone with more than 1,500 diverse students. We train, provide curriculum and music, team teach, provide free lessons for economically eligible students. In all, we’ll spend over 120 hours per week on site in schools this year.

In the spring a high school teacher of a struggling student wrote: “[My student] started his guitar lessons a few weeks back, and since starting he has brought most of his grades up to passing and his attendance and behavior have improved as well.  His lessons are making a difference.” A teacher in an East Austin charter school wrote: “I have worked with a lot of youth in difficult situations…We brought ACG to our school and it was an incredible asset – we soon had students enjoying school for probably the first time in their lives. One student admitted to me that coming to guitar class was what motivated him to make it in to school each day.”

Building the Core Our program has grown from 1 school with 15 students to more than 35 schools with over 1,800 students! In addition, there are hundreds of teachers around the world – from Nicaragua to Canada, from Taiwan to Nepal – who are building programs in their communities based on our work here. Would you like to see it?

Visit GuitarCurriculum.com and take a video tour of the resource you helped us build that not only powers our programs here, but programs near and far! One teacher in Boston wrote: “GuitarCurriculum.com was for me (and I’m sure for many other teachers) like emergency oxygen while swimming in a deep dark sea without a tank!  The classical guitar in United States has a new face of hope.”

FretBuzz Be it letters, spoken comments, or written assignments in reaction to guest artist performances, we found that our students think deeply and write eloquently about classical music on the guitar. In a letter to his new district’s Fine Arts Director (after leaving an Austin school that had guitar program) one middle school student wrote, “If only students here could be touched by the divine power of music as I have.”

So we launched an online magazine “by young guitarists, for young guitarists!” FretBuzz is a place for young people to publish their thoughts about classical guitar, and read each other’s writing. This week’s article came from a high school senior in Baltimore who wrote about his college auditioning experience. Austin students also produce video interviews with world famous artists who come to town for our major series. Check it out at FretBuzz.org!

Helping Others August 1st through 3rd was our first-ever national teacher training. More than 60 educators from 10 states participated in 16 hours of intense training. A Houston high school teacher wrote: “After I attended the training, I realized that the GuitarCurriculum.com repertoire and methodology gives me the tools to reduce my workload AND stress level every day and with every student!  What could be more directly helpful than to make a teacher’s work easier and more fun?” A career music educator from San Francisco wrote: “The curriculum presented was well thought out and expertly presented, and the sense of community you’ve created was truly inspirational!”

The Team Led by Director of Education Travis Marcum, our dedicated team is Jeremy Osborne (Assistant Director), and Eric Pearson (Community Guitarists Director), along with curriculum and education experts Chris Lee, Joseph Ikner, Brent Ferguson, Toby Rodriguez, Jeremy Coleman, Joseph Williams, Tom Echols, Remington Griffin, and many more. We have one aim above all others: To lead the students we serve to beautiful, confident and expressive music making experiences each and every time they play guitar.

Your Role Our program simply wouldn’t exist without you. High quality education, and the sharing of something as precious, temporal, fragile and beautiful as art and cultural expression simply “takes a village.” Your belief in ACG, and in the power of great music to change people’s lives, is the fuel that powers our educators, our guest artists, our curriculum development and training, the teachers we serve, and ultimately, thousands of young people in Austin and around the world. Thank you.

Learn more about ACG Education online here.