Webster Central School District was honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from the NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education for the 14th time.
Now in its 20th year, the Best Communities for Music Education designation is awarded to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students. To qualify for the Best Communities designation, Webster CSD answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities and support for the music programs. Responses were verified with school officials and reviewed by the Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.
“Recognition through the NAMM Foundation is a sign that we continue to seek ways to sustain and refine the quality comprehensive music education offered in Webster,” said Michael Roller, Webster CSD director of fine arts. “We have a finite amount of time where students are instructed in and about the fine arts. Metaphorically, we are not preparing them for just looking out the rear window of the car and seeing what happened on a road trip — we are sharing tools and understandings for them to see what is in front of them and experiencing the new possibilities that lay ahead. If we have done our job, their journey has just begun. Thank you to the Webster CSD community for helping our students enjoy their journey within our school, and beyond.”
This award recognizes that Webster CSD is leading the way with learning opportunities as outlined in the Every Student Succeeds Act. The legislation guides implementation in the states and replaces the No Child Left Behind Act, which was often criticized for an overemphasis on testing-while leaving behind subjects such as music. ESSA recommends music and the arts as important elements of a well-rounded education for all children.
Research into music education continues to demonstrate educational/cognitive and social skill benefits for children who make music. After two years of music education, research found that participants showed more substantial improvements in how the brain processes speech and reading scores that their less-involved peers and that students who are involved in music are not only more likely to graduate high school, but also to attend college as well. Everyday listening skills are stronger in musically trained children than in those without music training. Listening skills are tied to the ability to perceive speech in a noisy background, pay attention, and keep sounds in memory. Later in life, individuals who took music lessons as children show stronger neural processing of sound; young adults and even older adults who have not played an instrument for up to 50 years show enhanced neural processing compared to their peers. Not to mention, social benefits include conflict resolution, teamwork skills, and how to give and receive constructive criticism.
A 2015 study supported by The NAMM Foundation, “Striking A Chord,” also outlines the desire by teachers and parents for music education opportunities for all children as part of the school curriculum.