Hills’ Music Education Program Receives National Recognition

 The Half Hollow Hills Central School District has been honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from The NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education. This is the 8th year in a row the district has been selected for this impressive distinction.

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, Half Hollow Hills answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction 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.

“Our music education programs have overwhelming support from our community. They understand how music plays an integral part in their children’s learning and well-rounded education,” said Dr. Darlene Lilla, Director of Fine Arts in Half Hollow Hills. “Receiving the Best Communities for Music Education distinction is an honor for our district. It celebrates our outstanding traditional music programs as well as the development of innovative programs such as our new recording technology and guitar programs.” 

This award recognizes that Half Hollow Hills 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. 

“The goal of music education is not just to inspire future generations to make music a part of their lives, but to touch the lives of other individuals using its power,” said Noah Marcus, High School West Tri-M Music Honor Society President.

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 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.

Information supplied by the Half Hollow Hills school district.

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