NAMM Foundation and University of Kansas Recognize Districts and Schools as Best Communities for Music Education

Mike Lawson • News • April 5, 2017

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This week, The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation recognized 527 school districts and 92 schools in the United States for their exceptional music education programs.

Every year, The NAMM Foundation teams up with researchers from The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas and uses survey results to select school districts to be recognized as the Best Communities for Music Education (BCME) and individual schools to be rewarded the SupportMusic Merit Award (SMMA). 2017 marks the 18th year of this program. 

The awards program aims to recognize outstanding efforts by teachers, administrators, parents, students, and community leaders with regards to commitment and access to music education.  Both the BCME program and the SupportMusic Merit Award assess schools and districts based on funding, staffing of qualified teachers, and commitment to quality and accessible music education. 

New research demonstrates that music education boosts students’ learning abilities, proving quality music education to be more important than ever before. A new study by brain researchers from Northwestern University shows that students who participate in music education programs demonstrate improved brain function, discipline, and language development.  

“Studying music has intrinsic benefits and on its own, is core to learning.  Also the links between student success and music education have now been demonstrated by brain researchers in multiple studies,” said Mary Luehrsen, executive director of The NAMM Foundation. “The schools and districts our foundation recognizes are building on that connection between music and academics. These schools and districts are models for other educators who see music as a key ingredient in a well-rounded curriculum that makes music available to all children, regardless of zip code.”

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