Belmont has been honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from the NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education. Belmont joins 476 districts across the country - only 18 in Massachusetts - in receiving the prestigious award in 2016.
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.
Districts that have been recognized by the NAMM Foundation are often held up as models for other districts and educators looking to improve their own music education programs.
To qualify for the Best Communities designation, the BPS Department of Fine & Performing Arts answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instructional 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.
This award recognizes that Belmont is leading the way with learning opportunities as outlined in the new federal education legislation, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The legislation, signed into law in December 2015, replaces No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), which was often criticized for an overemphasis on testing—while leaving behind subject areas such as music. ESSA recommends music and the arts as important elements of well-rounded education for all children.
“Teaching music in Belmont continues to be a privilege and an honor,” said Arto Asadoorian, Director of Fine and Performing Arts for the Belmont Public Schools. “There is such strong community support here, not just for music but for the arts in general. Being named a ‘Best Community for Music Education’ again simply confirms what we have always known to be true about this town.”
The NAMM Foundation’s Best Communities for Music Education Award and the implementation of the federal ESSA law bring attention to the importance of keeping music education part of the school’s core education for all students. It also highlights music’s vital role in students’ overall success in school.
Community music programs have been drawing increased attention because of a landmark study by Northwestern University brain scientists. These researchers found new links between students in community music programs and academic success in subjects such as reading. Beyond the Northwestern study, other reports indicate that learning to play music can boost academic and social skills, such as processing math and learning to cooperate in group settings.
A 2015 study, “Striking A Chord” supported by the NAMM Foundation, also outlines the overwhelming desire by teachers and parents for music education opportunities for all children as part of the school curriculum. These findings were have recently been supported in Belmont by the data collected from Parent, Student and Faculty surveys by the Department of Fine and Performing Arts.
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.