EMCSD Music Program Earns 2nd NAMM Award
For the second straight year, El Monte City School District (EMCSD) has been named a “Best Communities for Music Education” by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation. The district qualified for the award based on its outstanding support for their music education, music participation, instruction time, facilities, and community music-making programs. Verification of these practices were reviewed by The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.
EMCSD believes that all children should have an opportunity to experience music, which is why every student has access to diverse art programs whether it is musical theater, dancing, band, and choir. Over the last decade, EMCSD has launched a Mariachi program, started an annual choir festival, and expanded their instrumental opportunities. “I've been at Durfee for 23 years. It's been exciting to see our music program grow and progress over time,” says Durfee Music Teacher Suzanne Brown. “We've always had terrific music teachers here in the district, and being named one of NAMM's Best Communities for Music is just a great feeling of validation.”
Talented and dedicated music teachers are a major part of EMCSD’s quality music education. Several are professional musicians who have been featured on PBS, perform in local symphonies, played in Carnegie Hall, and even have their own albums. “We work well together as a team,” says Bethany Andersen, Frank Wright and Lead Music Teacher for EMCSD. “I am proud of what my colleagues have been able to accomplish. We could not do it without the overwhelming support and financial investment we receive from our district. EMCSD really does value the whole child.”
Support for the music program stretches beyond administrators and finances, families are a major component to student success. “One of the reasons I've been teaching here for so long is the support of the community. Our families and students understand the value of the arts, and they have made it possible for us to provide a solid music education for so many years and for so many students,” said Ms. Brown.
EMCSD Superintendent, Dr. Garcia has made it her mission to uplift music education throughout her community. “For years, we have made the conscious effort to prioritize music and art education in order to give our students the best academic experience possible. Research shows that two years of music education is enough to show substantial improvement in speech and reading skills in students. Receiving a second straight Best Communities for Music Education award validates our commitment to the arts, and inspires us to continue building upon this success.”
Ms. Andersen echoed Dr. Garcia’s sentiments and has seen the positive effects throughout her tenure. “Music performance has the power to literally grow and change a student's brain in a positive way by increasing their problem-solving skills and language acquisition, along with many other benefits. This is just the tip of the iceberg, I have not even gotten into the social-emotional and health benefits of performing music and the research that has been done on that. In my opinion, music should be part of the CORE subjects in education.”
EMCSD earned two straight NAMM award despite still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in regards to wind instruments and singing. “We are currently rebuilding our programs and bringing back the opportunities we offered before the pandemic,” shared Ms. Andersen. “As a team, our goal is to continue to provide a quality music education to all students and shower them with as many opportunities to learn and perform.”
EMCSD will host a Band Festival on Thursday, May 25 at Durfee School to highlight their honor band program.