GFPS named one of the best communities for music education in the country | ABC Fox Great Falls
GREAT FALLS, Mt. – The Great Falls Public School District has been named one of the best communities for music education in the nation by NAMM for the 11th consecutive year.
GFPS always has something exciting happening in music classrooms starting in kindergarten and all the way through high school.
Award-winning music programs continue to build on the strong musical traditions that have been a cornerstone of the district since 1896.
“Our teachers are just as driven as students like me and they want you to succeed,” said Onika Gray, a junior at CMR High School.
District music programs focus on developing students who can communicate and express themselves musically.
“It’s at the heart of what we do, which I think is really important. That we enjoy music as much as we enjoy all the other subjects we teach. We’re very proud of that fact and that the arts are at the center of what we want to do for children, to give them a complete and holistic education,” said Dusty Molyneaux, music and arts supervisor for the district.
Gray is 16 and started playing a musical instrument (the flute) in grade 3 – fast forward to now and she can play 5 different instruments.
“It takes drive to want me good at your instrument, and my teachers, they really helped keep me motivated and my private lesson teachers,” Gray said.
She tells Montana Right Now that music will always be a part of her life.
“I’m leaning into music education, I’m not sure what I want to do after high school — but I know I want to stick with music,” Gray said.
GFPS is just one of 738 districts nationwide that has been named one of the best communities for music education and is the only district in Montana to be celebrated.
“Music is for everyone. We pride ourselves on it at Great Falls, it’s not an elite thing and we want to provide opportunities for all of our kids,” Molyneaux said.
To qualify for the Top Communities designation, GFPS answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class attendance, instruction time, facilities, music program support and community music creation programs.
Responses were verified with school officials and reviewed by the University of Kansas Music Research Institute.
Music education research demonstrates educational, cognitive, and social benefits for children who make music.
According to a press release sent out about the award, after two years of music education, researchers found that participants showed more substantial improvements in how the brain processes speech and reading scores than their less involved peers. and that students who are involved in music are not only more likely to graduate from high school, but also go on to college.
The NAMM Foundation is a non-profit organization supported in part by the National Association of Music Merchants and its approximately 10,300 members worldwide. The foundation advances active participation in musical creation throughout life by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving, and public service programs. For more information on the NAMM Foundation, click here.