Austin Public Schools receives national recognition for music programming

Published 5:34 pm Friday, April 5, 2024

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Austin Public Schools has been named one of the Best Communities for Music Education by The NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education.

Now in its 25th year, 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.

Austin is one of only seven districts in Minnesota to earn the honor.

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“We’re thrilled to announce that our dedication to music education has been recognized with the Best Communities for Music Education award,” said Austin Superintendent Dr. Joey Page in a press release Friday. “This honor is a testament to the collective efforts of our talented staff, students, families/caregivers, and community leaders. Together, we’ve made music an integral part of a well-rounded education for every child in the Austin Public Schools. We’re proud of our community’s strong commitment to creating an environment where music is vital to our children’s growth and learning.”

Research into music education continues to demonstrate educational/cognitive and social skill benefits for children who make music. 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.

“In the world that our students are living in today, music education in public schools is more important than ever before. Music connects students, both within themselves and with others around them. Performing music enables students to simultaneously use both the artistic and technical sides of their brains to create something both technically precise and beautiful,” said Christoph Dundas, Austin High School band director. “It teaches critical thinking, problem solving, communication, collaboration, creativity and perseverance. But most importantly, music education teaches students to connect with each other and the world around them. It is a universal language shared by students around the world.”

It also showed that students who are involved in music are not only more likely to graduate high school but also to attend college as well. In addition, everyday listening skills are stronger in musically trained children than in those without music training.

“Our unwavering commitment is steadfast in embracing and rewarding educators, administrators, parents and community leaders who applaud and support comprehensive music instruction as a fundamental part of core learning opportunities,” said John Mlynczak, NAMM president and CEO. “These leaders offer an extraordinary model of teaching that ignites a foundation of success we can all honor and celebrate.”