Bartlett City Schools Music Education Program Receives National
Recognition for the Fifth Consecutive Year
Bartlett City Schools has been honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from The NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education. Now in its 22nd 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. Bartlett City Schools joins an elite group marking this designation as one of only nine school districts in Tennessee and 738 districts nationwide.
To qualify for the Best Communities designation, Bartlett City Schools Fine Arts Specialist Dr. Brad Foust 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.
“Tennessee is known across the world for its musical heritage, and in Bartlett City Schools, we pass this heritage along to all students by making access to a high-quality music education a focus,” said Dr. Foust. “The NAMM Foundation’s recognition is particularly special this year. Despite the challenges facing our teachers, students, and families, we have worked together to preserve and fortify music instruction in each of our eleven schools. Music instruction provides unique opportunities for our students to create, explore, and imagine. Now more than ever, our students need music in their lives. We are blessed to have the capacity and support to offer music learning opportunities to all learners in our district.”
Since the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in 2015 and a stated emphasis on a well-rounded education, many school districts have re-committed to music and arts education programs. During the pandemic, music and arts programs were a vital component to keeping students engaged in school. ESSA provides designated funding for well-rounded educational opportunities through Title IV Part A Student Academic Success and Achievement grants. NAMM Foundation research has revealed that these grants are being widely used by school districts to address instructional gaps in access to music and arts education.
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 and that students who are involved in music are not only more likely to graduate high school, but also to attend college as well. Everyday listening skills are stronger in musically trained children than in those without music training. Significantly, listening skills are closely tied to the ability to: perceive speech in a noisy background, pay attention, and keep sounds in memory. Later in life, individuals who took music lessons as children show stronger neural processing of sound: young adults and even older adults who have not played an instrument for up to 50 years show enhanced neural processing compared to their peers. Not to mention, social benefits include conflict resolution, teamwork skills, and how to give and receive constructive criticism.