The National Association of Music Merchants Foundation has named the Merrick School District one of the Best Communities for Music Education. Roughly 4 percent, or 527, of the nation’s districts are being acknowledged this year, and roughly 30 percent are in New York. This is the third consecutive year that Merrick has earned this distinction.
Districts that want to be considered complete a survey and send it to the NAMM Foundation, which examines the results with the help of faculty members from Kansas University’s Music Research Institute. The judges consider a district’s accessibility to music programs, music program funding, music education facilities, district and school support and other factors that contribute to music education as a whole.
This year, 21 district students took part in the Nassau Music Educators Association All-County Music Festival. They were chosen to perform by their teachers, who based their decisions on student participation and scores in New York State School Music Association recitals. Six district students performed in the Long Island String Festival Association’s Nassau Intermediate Festival, having applied to perform alongside string teachers from schools throughout the county.
In addition to success in instrumental music, fifth- and sixth-grade students at Birch Elementary School staged two sold-out performances of the Disney musical “The Little Mermaid Jr.” on March 9 and 10.
Sharon Bryant, the NAMM Foundation’s senior project manager, who has been with the foundation for 19 years, said that being named a Best Community fosters “community pride and recognition from school administrators, board members, parents and community leaders.”
According to Bryant, the Best Communities for Music Education distinction holds school districts to higher standards, and helps music education to be viewed as just as important as subjects like math or science.
The NAMM Foundation is a nonprofit that advocates for music education, funds scientific research into the relationship between playing or listening to music and physical and mental well-being, and hosts music-related programs. It also sponsors the SupportMusic Coalition, which brings together music educators, businesses, nonprofits and residents in an effort to bring music education to schools and communities.