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North Brunswick‘s Music Education Program Receives National Recognition
North Brunswick‘s Music Education Program Receives National Recognition
Jamie Egan
Tuesday, September 03, 2019

North Brunswick‘s Music Education Program Receives National Recognition

The North Brunswick 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.

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, North Brunswick answered 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.

“We have developed a very dedicated team of talented teachers who serve our equally talented and dedicated students,” said music supervisor Jamie Egan. “When you combine this with an extremely supportive community and administration everyone wins. We are very proud to receive this distinction for the third year in a row.”

This award recognizes that North Brunswick Township schools are 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) which was often criticized for an overemphasis on testing-while leaving behind subjects such as music. ESSA recommends music and the arts as important elements of a well-rounded education for all children.

“The music department provides us the opportunity to be ourselves and express our feeling through music," said Talani Hart. “Kids from all different walks of life come together for a common purpose,” said Mary Amoako.“It’s an important outlet and feels to us like a home away from home,” said Laila Clark.

Research into music education continues to demonstrate educational/cognitive and social skill benefits for children who make music. In a series of landmark studies by scientists and researchers at Northwestern University a link was found between students in community music programs and life-long academic success, including higher high school graduation rates and college attendance. In another study from the University, it was discovered that the benefits of early exposure to music education improves how the brain processes and assimilates sounds, a trait that lasts well into adulthood.

Beyond the Northwestern research, other studies have indicated that music education lays the foundation for individual excellence in group settings, creative problem solving and flexibility in work situations, as well learning how to give and receive constructive criticism to excel.

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.

North Brunswick Township schools have gone through a complete rebuilding of their music department over the last 20 years. This rebuild has resulted in opportunities for students that include, multiple levels of ensembles, close ties and collaboration with Rutgers, TCNJ, and Princeton, and summer camp opportunities for children to hone skills year round.