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A Melodic Mission

Want to help your students learn more? Maybe you should take up the guitar. That's the message of Guitars in the Classroom, a California-based nonprofit that helps teachers nationwide learn to play acoustic guitar. The group believes that incorporating simple songs into lessons can make learning more fun and help students internalize concepts. Guitar music "often works wonders with unconventional learners, anxious children, kids with auditory-processing challenges and other learning disabilities," says Jessica Baron, founder and executive director of the organization. Some two dozen teachers at San Luis Rey Elementary in Oceanside, California, are currently participating in the Guitars in the Classroom program. Several observed that bringing music into the classroom has helped relax and motivate their students. San Luis Rey's principal, Paulette Thompson, believes the arts are a natural part of learning that is in danger of being lost. "Music has always helped children learn, [but] in many ways we've gotten away from that," she says.

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