South Fayette School District News Article

Second National Music Ed Award

South Fayette Township School District has been honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from The NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education for the second consecutive year. Now in its 25th year, the Best Communities for Music Education designation is awarded to school districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement to provide music access and education to all students.

To qualify for the Best Communities designation, administrators from South Fayette answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, and support for the music program and community music-making programs. Responses were verified by school officials and reviewed by The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.

“South Fayette has a long-standing reputation for excellence in music regionally and nationally,” said Dr. Kevin Maurer, Associate Principal of South Fayette Middle School and former music teacher with the district. “This recognition further validates the hard work and dedication of our school community to provide students with an enriching music education that fosters creativity, perseverance, and a lifelong appreciation for the arts.”

“In our Intermediate School, we use the Orff-Schulwerk Approach, which is a way of learning music that involves the whole child,” said Ms. Charlotte Rudolph, music teacher in grades three through five. “[We] look to awaken the creativity in every child by having them sing, say, dance, and play in each encounter. It's a lot of fun and quite joyful. I adore that my students are the composers and that each creative endeavor is different and unique. The students surprise me every day.”

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. In addition, everyday listening skills are stronger in musically trained children than those without music training. Significantly, listening skills are closely tied to perceiving speech in a noisy background, paying attention, and keeping 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. Social benefits include conflict resolution, teamwork skills, and giving and receiving constructive criticism.

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