The NAMM Foundation has named the Ann Arbor Public Schools one of its “Best Communities for Music Education” this year, and it’s just one of three communities from Michigan to get the honor.
NAMM, which stands for the National Association of Music Merchants, named 307 districts across the country on the list this year. According to NAMM, the “designation recognizes collaborative, from-the-ground-up efforts of teachers, administrators, students and parents who continually work to keep comprehensive music education as an integral part of the core curriculum.”
It is no surprise that the Ann Arbor Public Schools is being honored by NAMM, because it continues to show tremendous success in and dedication to music education throughout the district. Pioneer High School’s music department has received seven GRAMMY® awards, including the unprecedented honor of honor of being selected twice as a National GRAMMY® Signature School.
The Community High School jazz program has recorded several albums since the early 1990’s and continues to take part in regional, national, and international festivals and competitions in which they have won top prizes at nearly all. The program has a long tradition of performing overseas, including in Moscow, Japan and Germany. Numerous world-class jazz guests do exclusive clinics and performances for the CHS Jazz Program, including Victor Wooten, J.D. Blair, Rodney Whitaker, Han Bennink, and The String Trio of New York.
Clague music teacher Abigail Alwin was named a Yale Distinguished Music Educator this year. She will attend a symposium with other Distinguished Music Educators at Yale in June.
Dedication to the arts begins early in the district. All 5th grade students in Ann Arbor are guaranteed a school-loaned instrument for twice-weekly instruction, and all have the opportunity to experience vocal music. AAPS also has a rare fifth through 12th grade strings program.
To determine the “Best Communities for Music Education,” the NAMM Foundation analyzed funding, staffing, commitment to standards and access to music instruction for nearly 2,000 schools. The foundation was aided in its analysis by the Institute for Educational Research and Public Service of Lawrence, Kansas, an affiliate of the University of Kansas.
“(This honor) recognizes communities for their commitment to music education and strengthens support for these programs,” said NAMM Foundation Executive Director Mary Luehrsen. “Having widely embraced the evidence indicating that music education yields great things in schools and communities, people are increasingly affirmative, advocating for school music curricula, and championing programs like Best Communities that recognize this commitment to music education.”
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