For our ACG Fall Fund Drive, we’re sharing stories on our Changing Lives Storyboard of ways music has changed our world, and how our community helped make it happen. Consider supporting ACG today!

Fourteen years ago, Austin Classical Guitar recognized the need for an improved system of school-based guitar education comparable to established programs in choir, orchestra, and band. Three years later, we launched Now used internationally by hundreds of teachers serving tens of thousands of students, “” is a comprehensive teacher resource that includes a searchable library of original, pedagogically-sequenced ensemble literature, sight reading, and audio and video tutorials, all espousing a powerful core educational philosophy of “expressive, beautiful music-making from the very first day.”

We’ve been talking to teachers around the country – and the world – about how they use our curriculum, and wanted to share Jane’s story with you. The following is the third installment of our three-part series.

Jane’s classes incorporate diverse elements of instruction. “We’re a Cajun, Creole, and Country music town. We respond to that as guitar teachers.”

She’s written arrangements of many Cajun and Creole tunes, and has a rotating set of projects that emphasize cultural aspects of Louisiana heritage. Through scavenger hunts, biographies, and live performances of instruments and music genres from around the world, Jane integrates her folklore background into the classroom.

A Kora player with Jane’s student

“Last year we had a Kora player come play in class, and the students did a little improv of its scale with a drone underneath.”

“This year I have a student who just moved from Haiti, and we’re going to do a Haitian folk song in class. It’ll help him with his transition, and expose classmates to his culture as well.”

She also has a “Family Jam Night” at the end of the year. She asks her students to interview a family member who plays music, and then hosts an inter-generational jam night. She’s encountered grandmas and grandpas who play everything from rock and classical to Cajun accordion.

“When you’re in the trench, you think it’s just class, but then later, you find out it’s not. I’ve had students get full music scholarships to college, students who go into music business, and kids that have CDs out, traveling bands, all kinds of stuff. It’s really cool. We live in a very creative hub here that really encourages that, and I’m glad to be making this particular contribution to the effort.”

“When I find out I’ve sparked creativity and direction in some student’s life, wow. That’s just amazing.”

“It took a while to come back to me, but now my students are succeeding as young adults in music. I’ve put between 1500-2000 students out into the world. When you do that, you feel like you just launch them out there. But certain students have really taken on the guitar and music as their life.”