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Somers Gets Music Education Award

The Somers Central School District has been honored for the sixth year with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from the National Association of Music Merchants Foundation (NAMM) 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.

“The music programs in Somers schools are the perfect environment for any student to grow and develop into an individual performer,” says Somers High School senior Bailey Ross. Ross plays the French horn and sings soprano II in the choir, chamber choir, and women's choir. “Over the years, I have loved to listen, share, and create with my fellow musicians in the Somers music community that we all can, and do, call home.”

To qualify for the Best Communities designation, SCSD music educators submitted answers to 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.

“The past year has shown how vital music education is for our students in Somers,” said Somers High School music teacher Terry Reynolds. “Receiving this distinction is so encouraging to our students, educators and parents as we return to making music together in our schools.”

Since the passage by Congress in 2015 of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and a stated emphasis on a well-rounded education, many school districts have re-committed to music and arts education programs and found that in this time of a national pandemic, provides a valuable way to keep students engaged in school.

“Exposure to and participating in making music is pivotal to educating the Whole Child,” says Somers Superintendent Dr. Raymond Blanch. “The commitment of our dedicated music teachers and our talented students enriches not only our schools, but our entire Somers community.”

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.