Catskill Central School District has been honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from The NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education. Now in its 23rd 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, Catskill CSD answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program and community music-making programs. Responses were verified with school officials and reviewed by The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.
Since the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in 2015 and a stated emphasis on a well-rounded education, many school districts have re-committed to music and arts education programs. During the pandemic, music and arts programs were a vital component to keeping students engaged in school. ESSA provides designated funding for well-rounded educational opportunities through Title IV Part A Student Academic Success and Achievement grants. NAMM Foundation research has revealed that these grants are being widely used by school districts to address instructional gaps in access to music and arts education.
“Music Education is about the whole-child development. It is about learning basic music fundamentals to the music in cultures around the world. It includes performing on stage in front of families, friends, and our community, and for some, on stages around the country and world. Without quality music education, we deprive our children of a part of their identity,” said Michelle Storrs-Ryan, music teacher and director at Catskill Middle School and Catskill High School.
Research into music education continues to demonstrate educational/cognitive and social skill benefits for children who make music. After two years of music education, researchers found that participants showed more substantial improvements in how the brain processes speech and reading scores 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 also strong in musically trained children, skills which are closely 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 continue to show strong 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. Not to mention, social benefits include conflict resolution, teamwork skills, and how to give and receive constructive criticism.
About The NAMM Foundation
The NAMM Foundation is a nonprofit supported in part by the National Association of Music Merchants and its approximately 10,300 members around the world. The foundation advances active participation in music making across the lifespan by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving and public service programs. For more information about The NAMM Foundation, please visit www.nammfoundation.org.