The Arts

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Rockville Centre Schools’ Music Education Program Receives National Recognition 

District is one of 4% of school districts in nation to receive distinction

For the second consecutive year, Rockville Centre School District has been honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from The NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education. Rockville Centre is one of 4% of districts across the nation receiving the prestigious award in 2018

The Best Communities 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, district administrators 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 Rockville Centre School District is leading the way with music learning opportunities as outlined in the new federal education legislation, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The legislation, signed into law in December 2015, and awaiting state implementation designates music and the arts as important elements of well-rounded education for all children.

When asked about the importance of Music Education, Middle School band teacher, Maria LaSorsa said, “I always tell my students that Music ignites the fire of their imagination.” Chorus teacher, Melissa Lagoudes added that she posts the following quote by the ancient Greek philosopher, Plato in her classroom: “Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything.”

As Rockville Centre UFSD finalizes its 2018-2019 budget, The NAMM Foundation’s Best Communities for Music Education Award and the state level implementation of the federal ESSA law bring attention to the importance of keeping music education part of curriculum offerings and available to all students. It also highlights music’s vital role in students’ overall success in school and the personal benefits of making music.

Rockville Centre Board of Education Trustee, Mark Masin wrote:
“During the school year I see many of our students’ performances. I go not only listen to the music but to see the interaction of our student musicians and their conductors. Most importantly, I go to see the smiles on their faces. Our students receive a tremendous amount of joy from their performances and the audience reflects it back to them with their applause. So, I offer congratulations and gratitude to our staff, our parents, and most definitely our outstanding students.”

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.

Rockville Centre offers General Music instruction alongside Band, Orchestra and Choral ensembles in all of its elementary schools. South Side Middle School and High School give students the opportunity to explore music composition, sequencing and engineering in modern music laboratories equipped with electronic instruments and computer software and hardware. The secondary school students also continue to develop their performing skills in higher level instrumental and vocal groups, including Jazz ensembles. The high school offers 11th and 12th graders IB Music, a comprehensive music curriculum that integrates performance, composition, and research at the commencement level.

Students who live in Rockville Centre have a broad range of opportunities to perform in community based theatre troupes, bands, orchestras, and choirs, as well as county level advanced performing ensembles where they can use and improve the skills they learn in school.

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.