Nine Monroe County school districts received the Best Communities in Music Education designation for 2018 from the National Association of Music Merchants Foundation: Brighton, Churchville-Chili, East Irondequoit, Honeoye Falls-Lima, Penfield, Pittsford, Rush-Henrietta, Webster and West Irondequoit.
New York leads the nation, with 151 school districts receiving the BCME designation. Recognized school districts from Ontario and Wayne counties are Honeoye, Newark, Palmyra-Macedon, Penn Yan and Wayne.
In cooperation with researchers at The Music Research Institute at University of Kansas, NAMM annually selects school districts that deserve BCME recognition. The NAMM Foundation designated 583 of the nation’s 13,600 school districts this year.
Now in its 19th year, the awards program recognizes the efforts of teachers, administrators, parents, students and community leaders who make music education part of the curriculum. Designations go to districts and schools that demonstrate a high commitment and consistent access to music education.
“The schools and districts we recognize this year — both new and repeat honorees — represent a diverse group of urban, rural and suburban districts and demographics,” said Mary Luehrsen, of The NAMM Foundation. “Along with a strong commitment to music education, there are two common traits that each program shares: consistent funding that anchors music education as part of the core curriculum and music programs that are located in communities where music education is viewed as a jewel of the school system. Parents, administrators and community members are proud of these local music programs and attend them regularly.”
Research studies demonstrate the physical, cognitive and social benefits of music making. Students involved in a school-based music program are not only more likely to graduate high school and attend college; only a few years of musical training early in life improves how the brain processes sound, even later in life. Social benefits include conflict resolution, teamwork skills and learning how to give and receive constructive criticism.
“Music and the arts are a critical component of the core curriculum, and strong community support and involvement in the arts help build an even stronger foundation for student success in those areas of study and beyond,” said Christopher Johnson, KU researcher and professor. “Along with contributing to improved graduation rates and academic success, students in quality music programs are consistently more proficient in other subjects and develop many ancillary lifelong skills. We have all noticed how the most involved music students are also exceptional critical thinkers and good listeners, able to persist through all kinds of adversities. The benefits of a strong music program extend far beyond the program itself, though the primary benefit will always be the unparalleled joys that good music brings to peoples’ lives.”
The BCME program evaluates schools and districts based on funding, staffing of highly qualified teachers, commitment to standards and access to music instruction.
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