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District NEWS

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March 25, 2013

BH-BL honored for outstanding commitment to music education

The Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake School District has been ranked among the "Best Communities for Music Education" in the country by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM).

NAMM is a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing active participation in music making by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving, and public service programs from the international music industry. More than 2,000 school districts applied to the NAMM Foundation for this prestigious annual recognition.

BH-BL is one of 307 school districts in the nation recognized by the NAMM Foundation in 2013 for its unwavering commitment to providing an excellent music education program.

In its 14th year, the Best Communities for Music Education (BCME) award recognizes school districts that have demonstrated exceptional efforts toward maintaining music education as part of the school’s core curriculum despite economic challenges that have negatively impacted funding for education.

The BCME survey requires districts to answer 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 Institute for Educational Research and Public Service of Lawrence, Kansas, an affiliate of the University of Kansas.

A comprehensive and successful program

BH-BL has a long and rich history of excellence in music education. The announcement that BH-BL was recognized as a Best Community for Music brings attention to the importance of keeping music education as part of the school’s core education and the vital role music plays in the success of our students, says Fine Arts department head Mike Danis.

In BH-BL, all students in grades 1 - 6 receive music instruction through weekly general music classes. Starting in 4th grade, students may additionally opt to play a band or string instrument and to participate in chorus.

Almost fifty percent of 4th grade students participate in band or orchestra, and over 1,400 students participate in their school band, orchestra or chorus in grades 4 -12.

BH-BL students have represented the district at local and state music festival, and have gone on to attend some of the country’s top music schools. BH-BL ensembles have a long tradition of high ratings at NYSMMA Major Organization festivals and other competitive festivals.

High school music students also raise funds to enable them to travel and participate in out-of-state competitive and non-competitive music festivals.

According to NAMM Foundation Executive Director Mary Luehrsen, music education is of vital importance because “There is overwhelming research tying music education to higher overall student success in school and in life. This designation recognizes communities for their commitment to music education and strengthens support for these programs.”