APS music education program receives national recognition

(ABC 6 News) – Austin Public Schools has been named one of the Best Communities for Music Education by The National Association of Music Merchants (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. Austin is one of only seven districts in Minnesota to earn the honor.

Austin Superintendent Dr. Joey Page shared, “We are thrilled to be recognized nationally for our music program. Here in Austin, our music department excels not just in teaching students the fundamentals, such as how to read music, play an instrument, or sing, but also in imparting a deep appreciation for the powerful ways in which music impacts us. Not only is music a doorway to lifelong learning, but it is also an instrument for cultural appreciation and understanding.”

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.

In addition, everyday listening skills are stronger in musically trained children than in those without music training. Not to mention, social benefits include conflict resolution, teamwork skills, and how to give and receive constructive criticism.

According to Christoph Dundas, Austin High School band director, “Music connects students, both within themselves and with others around them. Performing music enables students to simultaneously use both the artistic and technical sides of their brains to create something both technically precise and beautiful. It teaches critical thinking, problem solving, communication, collaboration, creativity and perseverance. But most importantly, music education teaches students to connect with each other and the world around them. It is a universal language shared by students around the world.”

To qualify for the Best Communities designation, APS completed a rigorous application featuring 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.

To learn more about The NAMM Foundation, CLICK HERE.