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South Colonie Central School District News

South Colonie’s Music Education Program Receives National Recognition Again

For the fifth consecutive year, South Colonie has been honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from The NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education. South Colonie is one of only four percent of districts across the nation receiving the prestigious award in 2017.

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, South Colonie 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.

“I’m so very proud of our district music program,” said Peter Cannistraci, Music Department Chairperson. “Receiving this designation for five consecutive years really sets our school district apart as a wonderful place for the arts. It shows how important our music program is to the school and community. I’m honored to be part of this team.”

Click here to view the entire list of school districts recognized as Best Communities for Music Education.

This award recognizes that South Colonie is leading the way with music learning opportunities as outlined in the new federal education legislation, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The legislation, signed into law in December 2015, and awaiting state implementation, designates music and the arts as important elements of a well-rounded education for all children.

As South Colonie finalizes its 2017-2018 budget, The NAMM Foundation’s Best Communities for Music Education Award and the state level implementation of the federal ESSA law bring attention to the importance of keeping music education part of curriculum offerings and available to all students. It also highlights music’s vital role in students’ overall success in school and the personal benefits of making music.

“We have very high participation rates,” Cannistraci explained. “50 percent of our fourth graders participate in the beginning string program. 75 percent of our middle school students elect to be in band, orchestra, or chorus. Our high school music students earn GPA’s 5 points higher and receive more scholarships and awards than their peers.”

Research into music education continues to demonstrate educational/cognitive and social skill benefits for children who make music. In a series of landmark studies by scientists and researchers at Northwestern University a link was found between students in community music programs and life-long academic success, including higher high school graduation rates and college attendance. In another study from the University it was discovered that the benefits of early exposure to music education improves how the brain processes and assimilates sounds, a trait that lasts well into adulthood.

Beyond the Northwestern research, other studies have indicated that music education lays the foundation for individual excellence in group settings, creative problem solving and flexibility in work situations, as well learning how to give and receive constructive criticism to excel. 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.

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. Its mission is to advance 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.