Newtown’s Music Education Program
Receives National Recognition
Named a Best Community for Music Education
for the 10th Time
NEWTOWN, CT - April 24, 2018 – Newtown has been honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from The NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment
to music education.
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, Newtown 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 Newtown 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.
Over 70% of all students in grades pre-K-12 participate in the Newtown Public School’s music program. Curricular offerings follow the national and state standards for music education and include General Music, Chorus, Band, Orchestra, Percussion Ensemble, Jazz Improvisation, Music Technology, Harmony and Composition, and AP Music Theory. Many of those students also participate in extracurricular ensembles including Jazz Band, Marching Band, Honors Band, Bucket Band, annual musical productions, Chamber Orchestra, Singers, Concert Choir, male and female a capella groups, New Music Ensemble, Color Guard, Winter Guard, and Winter Percussion. Several students representing Reed Intermediate, Newtown Middle School and Newtown High School were selected to participate in this year’s regional, state and national music festivals. Newtown’s program is recognized for its excellence through the CT High School Theater Awards, USBands (2017 state and national champions), and various Jazz competitions. Many students take private lessons with professional musicians through the Visiting Artist Program. Younger students are befitting from HEMMA (High School/Elementary School Music Mentoring Association) in which high school students tutor younger children in beginning instrumental lessons and music theory skills. Music students frequently perform for school and community events and have traveled the world representing Newtown and making music. Our music teachers have been recognized in various capacities, including Newtown Teacher of the Year, serving as guest conductors in area music festivals, and writing curriculum for the College Board. Over the years, many Newtown graduates have gone on to be composers, music teachers, performers, conductors, and music therapists.
Michelle Hiscavich, Newtown’s Director of Visual and Performing Arts is “proud to have the hard work and efforts of the music teachers recognized and appreciates that the Newtown community acknowledges the value of the arts in every child’s education. The study of music enables our students to become well-rounded individuals. In addition to developing the creative side of the brain, children are strengthening many skill sets – decoding and reading skills, spatial and mathematical reasoning, fine motor skills, as well as critical-thinking and problem-solving skills. Newtown’s music students are developing discipline, perseverance, self-confidence, teamwork and communication skills (all highly sought after in today’s workforce). We are working to educate the next generation of musicians, audiences and global citizens.”
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. 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.