District’s music program wins national acclaim for ‘outstanding commitment’

San Marcos High School students under the direction of Christopher Hanson, performed at the recent Noche de la Familia held at the school. Daily Record photo by Denise Cathey

San Marcos CISD

SMCISD has been honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from The NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education. 

“The music teachers from SMCISD are excited and humbled that NAMM has recognized our district as a “Best Community in Music Education” for the third year in a row,” Nathan Rolfe, assistant band director at San Marcos High School, said. 

“We all work very hard to ensure our students receive the highest quality musical experience we are able to provide. Music is such an important part of the lives of all people. Performing in a musical ensemble is the ultimate team activity. It requires dedication, individual practice, critical thinking, and selflessness; all qualities we hope to instill in our youth so they may become the leaders of our future.” 

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, SMCISD 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.

This award recognizes that SMCISD 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. 

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.

San Marcos Daily Record

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