Oxford’s Music Education Program Receives National Recognition
Oxford, Mississippi (April 8, 2019) — Oxford School District has been honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from The NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) 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. “Music education is important to our district and its students,” said Superintendent Brian Harvey. “Receiving this designation is a wonderful reflection of our district’s music education program and our community’s support of the arts in our schools.”
This award recognizes that Oxford 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.
Oxford High School Choral Teacher, Thomas Ardrey led the application process to qualify for the ‘Best Communities’ designation. Ardrey answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, and support for the music programs. “It is such an honor to receive this recognition. Music education connects students with their own culture as well as with the world. I am lucky to be a part of a district that values the music education and supports the arts as a vital piece in student learning,” said Ardrey.
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.