Hamilton County Schools named a 2019 Best Community for Music Education
Posted on 03/27/2019
Fifth-grade students sing during the Hamilton Sings evening concert last NovemberThe NAMM Foundation has honored Hamilton County Schools on its list of Best Communities for Music Education in 2019 for the district's outstanding commitment to music education. Hamilton County Schools was one of ten school districts in Tennessee and only 623 districts nationally to receive the honor.

The selection is a part of an exciting year of accomplishments in the arts in Hamilton County Schools this school year. In October, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts named Hamilton County Schools an Ensuring the Arts for Any Given Child community. Chattanooga and Hamilton County was the 26th site in the country to receive the honor. The Kennedy Center announced the selection at Hamilton Sings, one of the signature events for music education in the district. Hamilton Sings is a one-day elementary choir event featuring fifth-grade performers from each school in the district. The young singers participate in musical workshops all day of the event and conclude with free concert in the evening.

Now in its 20th 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. To qualify for the Best Communities designation, Namm Foundation reviewed funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music programs in Hamilton County Schools. Responses were verified and reviewed by The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.

“This recognition affirms and celebrates the commitment of Hamilton County Schools to music opportunities for every child, and our belief that music makes a difference for individual children and the whole school culture,” said Stockman, content lead for the arts in Hamilton County Schools. “I am so proud of our team, and so honored to celebrate our music teachers at the perfect time: March- Music in our Schools Month!”

This award recognizes that Hamilton County Schools is leading the way with learning opportunities as outlined in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The legislation guides implementation in the states and replaces the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). ESSA recommends music and the arts as important elements of a well-rounded education for all children.

“Being named one of the 2019 Best Communities for Music Education is a well deserved honor for Claire Stockman, our music educators and our schools which provide so many tremendous opportunities for children in our schools to develop their talent to perform and express themselves with music,” said Dr. Bryan Johnson, superintendent of Hamilton County Schools. “Advances in fine arts education was important to our parents and community in our listening sessions over the last two years, and this award along with the John F. Kennedy Center designation demonstrate the commitment of the district to provide opportunities for our students.”

Research continues to demonstrate educational, cognitive and social skill benefits for children who make music. Research studies have shown after two years of music education there are improvements in how the brain processes speech and improved reading scores in participants compared to peers less-involved in music. The studies have determined that participants in music are more likely to graduate high school and attend college. Everyday listening skills are also stronger in musically-trained children than in those without music training. Not to mention, social benefits including conflict resolution, teamwork skills, and how to give and receive constructive criticism. 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.

Hamilton County Schools offers General Music, Band, Orchestra, Chorus, and Musical Theatre across all grade levels. The community also supports the arts in Hamilton County Schools. Creative Change, a fundraising project sponsored by Arts Build, helps purchase instruments, drawing tools, theatre scripts and other vital tools necessary in a quality arts program.

“We have dedicated, inspiring music educators in every school, making a difference every day,” added Claire Stockman. “We have not arrived as an arts program as we seek to make sure every child who dreams of participating in music has the instrument or supplies necessary, but this honor lets us know we are definitely on the right track.”

About The NAMM Foundation
The NAMM Foundation is a nonprofit supported in part by the National Association of Music Merchants and its approximately 10,400 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.

Photo: Fifth-grade students sing during the Hamilton Sings evening concert last November