Music education is a key piece of programming at the Oregon School District, which was honored earlier this month by a national music organization.

The district received the Best Communities for Music Education designation from the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation for “outstanding commitment to music education.” The designation, now in its 20th year, is awarded to districts that “demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students,” according to an April 8 OSD news release.

“We are delighted to be honored with this national recognition,” said district superintendent Brian Busler in the news release.

To qualify, district officials answered detailed questions about music programs’ funding, graduation requirements, participation, instruction time, facilities and support, with responses verified with school officials and reviewed by The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas, according to the news release.

Busler said the district has “very strong music education classes at all grade levels, which fits into the district’s ‘Whole Child Emphasis.’”

“One important component of educating the whole child is providing integrated learning experiences that include music education,” he said in the news release.

Busler said research shows just two years of music education benefits children’s educational, cognitive and social skills.

“Additionally, music education has important social benefits, including conflict resolution, teamwork skills, and practice giving and receiving constructive feedback,” he said.

Oregon Middle School Orchestra teacher Kay Black said music education is an important part of the academic school day because it “allows all children, regardless of financial background, to have access to the benefits and joy of music.”

“The study of music teaches discipline and perseverance through developing verbal, aural and technical literacy,” Black said in the news release, “Music mirrors history and culture from all corners of the world and provides unique lenses with which to see outside or our own time and societies. Music provides an opportunity for creativity, personal expression, analysis, reflection and collaboration with others.”

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