FCSD Music Education Program Receives National Recognition for 2nd Straight Year

Now in its 21st 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, Fairfield City Schools answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, and support for the music programs, Responses were verified with school officials and reviewed by The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.
“The Fairfield City School District is very proud to be the recipient of the Best Communities for Music Education Award for the second consecutive school year. As a school district, we are proud to continue to support and commit to music education opportunities for our students,” said Billy Smith, Superintendent of Fairfield City Schools.
“Receiving this award for the second year in a row shows Fairfield’s commitment to music education,” said Katie Pennell, Instructional Specialist for Music.
This award recognizes that Fairfield City Schools 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.
"Being involved in music gives me another means of expressing myself. The statement, 'where words fail, music speaks' is true for me. Also, having been in band all these years in school has given me a second family because of the relationships I've built," said Elizabeth Larson, a senior at Fairfield High School.
Research into music education continues to demonstrate educational/cognitive and social skill benefits for children who make music. After two years of music education, research found that participants showed more substantial improvements in how the brain processes speech and reading scores that 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 that 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.