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Guitar Doors - Instruments of Change provides a creative tool for inmates to re-connect with their families and society through music education.
Through small-group, student-centered instruction, Guitar Doors stimulates those incarcerated to think and express themselves in new ways, and teaches the rewards of working together as a community towards a common goal.
The programs provided by Guitar Doors help individuals develop relationships and address issues they may not be able to address using words alone. Music can improve self-expression, reduce stress, and can help prisoners with issues of trust, aggression, anger and relationships. Studies have shown that participation in music programs increase their ability to converse with others, reduce their social isolation, and increase their interest in external events. It has also been shown to significantly increase feelings of acceptance, joy and happiness, and significantly decrease feelings of guilt, regret, blame, and fear/distrust. It provides a distraction from problem-oriented thinking while simultaneously developing independence and decision-making skills. In short, group music participation can facilitate self-expression and provide a channel for transforming frustration, anger, and aggression into the experience of creativity and self-mastery. Direct observation by participating musicians, administration and from those working with offenders suggest that the participants greatly benefit from having such positive experiences, and that their sense of self-worth and confidence increases greatly.
- Emily Thielmann
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