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Norristown Area School District Receives Fourth Consecutive Best Communities for Music Education Award

Norristown Area 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 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, Norristown Area School District 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.

“Music education provides the opportunity to create, explore, play, and connect. We celebrate diversity through music; connecting us all, uniting our community, and bringing our world closer together,” said Dr. Barbara Weikert, Norristown Area School District Music Liaison, Eisenhower Science and Technology Leadership Academy Music Instruction.

“The Norristown Area School District continues to believe that music education is an integral part of educating the complete child, and thus an important part of our educational program,” added Christopher Dormer, Superintendent of the Norristown Area School District. “We thank the NAMM Foundation for this recognition which demonstrates our commitment to the arts and to providing rich and rigorous learning opportunities in all content. We are fortunate to have such an amazing team of music teachers in our district that inspire our students to achieve vocal and instrumental excellence.”

This award recognizes that Norristown Area School District is leading the way with learning opportunities as outlined in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The legislation guides implementation in the states and replaces the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) 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.

“Things that you never thought would have music, have music. Music can touch your soul - it did for me at the Philadelphia Orchestra, it was amazing and made me think, I want to become that.” said, Yalianne Rosa, eighth-grade student, Eisenhower Science and Technology Leadership Academy.

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 than 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. 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 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 overwhelming desire by teachers and parents for music education opportunities for all children as part of the school curriculum.

About The NAMM Foundation
The NAMM Foundation is a nonprofit supported in part by the National Association of Music Merchants and its approximately 10,400 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.