The Bethel Park School District has once again received the “Best Communities for Music Education” designation by the NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) Foundation for its commitment to music education. Now in its 24th year, the Best Communities for Music Education recognition is awarded to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in providing music access and education to all students.
To earn this recognition, the school district submitted data about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program, and community music-making programs. The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas then reviewed that information.
“We are so proud of this honor. This recognition is most welcomed and very affirming for Bethel Park,” said Superintendent Dr. James Walsh. “The entire department has maintained high standards of excellence for the music program, evident in every magnificent student performance and by accolades like this NAMM recognition. The faculty deserve a standing ovation for another year of excellence.”
The Bethel Park School District is one of just 830 school districts nationwide to receive the Best Communities for Music Education distinction.
Music is a central tenet of the district’s whole-child educational approach in Bethel Park. Beginning at the elementary level and continuing through high school, students can explore their creativity, work collaboratively with peers, and build upon skills needed in all facets of education.
Bethel Park students can participate in elective instrumental music programs, such as band and strings, beginning in fourth grade.
The period represented by grades 5-8 is especially critical in students’ musical development. The music they perform or study often becomes integral to their personal music repertoire. Composing and improvising provide students with unique insight into the form and structure of music and, at the same time, help them to develop their creativity. Broad experience with various music is necessary if students are to make informed judgments. Similarly, this background breadth enables them to understand the connections and relationships between music and other disciplines. By understanding the cultural and historical forces that shape social attitudes and behaviors, students are better prepared to live and work in increasingly multicultural communities. The role that music will play in students’ lives depends largely on the skills they achieve in creating, performing, and listening to music.
All Bethel Park students at Neil Armstrong and Independence Middle Schools (grades 5-8) can sing in the choir or play in the school’s orchestra or band. Middle level students continue to participate in a required general music curriculum that meets these objectives. Fifth through eighth grade students also have the option to continue to pursue musical studies within the Orchestra or Band.
At Bethel Park High School, the music education choices continue to expand. Students can take music electives, such as Music Technology, Songwriting, or AP Music Theory, and perform ensembles such as Orchestra, Band, or Choir, including auditioned groups such as Top 21, Symphonic Band, and Chamber Orchestra.
The NAMM Foundation is a nonprofit supported partly by the National Association of Music Merchants, its 15,000 member companies, and individual professionals. The foundation advances active participation in music-making across the lifespan by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving, and public service programs.