Unionville’s music education program receives national recognition – Daily Local
EAST MARLBOROUGH – The Unionville-Chadds Ford School District has received the Best Communities for Music Education designation from the NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education. Now in its 23rd year, the Best Communities for Music Education designation is awarded to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education for all students.
To qualify for the Top Communities designation, Unionville-Chadds Ford School District 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.
“We are honored to receive this prestigious designation from the NAMM Foundation,” said Dr. John Sanville, Superintendent. “Our teachers are some of the best and have created programs at each of our schools and at all levels that provide exceptional musical opportunities to learn and play. Our students have won multiple musical accolades for their talents and student involvement in Our music programs have never been greater!This can only be attributed to our passionate faculty and their hard work in providing a meaningful and quality music program at UCFSD.
Since the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in 2015 and the emphasis on comprehensive education, many school districts have recommitted to music and arts education programs. During the pandemic, music and arts programs have been a vital part of keeping students engaged in school. ESSA provides designated funding for comprehensive educational opportunities through Title IV Part A Student Academic Achievement and Achievement Scholarships. NAMM Foundation research has found that these grants are widely used by school districts to bridge the pedagogical gaps in access to music and arts education.
Madeleine Day, a junior involved in the music program at Unionville High School, said, “For me, music education is extremely important because it exposes students to music early on so they can develop a holistic education. . Students in our district have the opportunity to express themselves creatively and build their self-esteem through something they are passionate about. At a young age in elementary school, we were exposed to many instruments and singing styles. It helped my appreciation and love for music grow. I am forever grateful to our district music department and it has truly changed my life.
Music education research continues to demonstrate the educational/cognitive and social benefits of children making music: After two years of music education, researchers found that participants showed more substantial improvements in how 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. Daily listening skills are stronger in musically trained children than in non-musically trained children. Significantly, listening skills are closely related to the ability to: perceive speech in a noisy environment, pay attention and remember sounds. Later in life, people who took music lessons as children show stronger neural processing of sound: young adults and even older adults who haven’t played an instrument in 50 years show improved neural processing compared to their peers. Not to mention, social benefits include conflict resolution, teamwork skills, and how to give and receive constructive criticism.
“Students have an endless amount of experiences if they pursue music,” said Mr. Eddie Otto, Group Principal of Unionville High School. “There are studies that show that test scores improve with participation in ensembles, that music is one of the only topics that engages both sides of the brain to a high degree, or that participation in music helps get you into college, but music can be so much more than that to a person. Students can find life passion, friendships, and memories in the pursuit of music. They develop leadership , a mature work ethic, social skills, time management skills, teamwork skills, etc. the list goes on.There is no bench music and every part is equally important. Every participant is equally important and students experience the performance and emotions of music while providing it to an audience. It’s quite indescribable and I’m incredibly lucky to be able to be a part of this experience for our children in Unionville-Chadds Ford.