Catskill’s Music Education Program Receives National Recognition Second Year in a Row

NAMM Foundation 2023 Best Community for Music Education BannerWe did it again! 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 24th 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. Catskill received this national recognition in 2022 as well. 

To qualify for the Best Communities designation, Catskill 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 by school officials and reviewed by The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.

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 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. In addition, everyday listening skills are stronger in musically trained children. Significantly, listening skills 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 the ability to give and receive constructive criticism. 

Since the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in 2015 and its 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. 

About The NAMM Foundation

The NAMM Foundation is a nonprofit supported in part by the National Association of Music Merchants and its 15,000 member companies and individual professionals. 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

Posted in District, Elementary School, High School, Middle School.