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Kimberly Named One of the Nation’s Best Communities for Music Education for Eleventh Consecutive Year

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Kimberly, Wis. – April 17, 2024 – For the eleventh consecutive year, Kimberly Area School District (KASD) has again been honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from the NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education. Now in its 25th year, the Best Communities for Music Education designation is awarded to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in providing music access and education to all students.

To qualify for the Best Communities designation, KASD 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 by school officials and reviewed by The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.

“Our vision is that all students will reach their potential, and this includes pursuing opportunities in the arts,” said Robert Mayfield, Superintendent of the Kimberly Area School District. “The award belongs to our entire community for providing music education opportunities for students of all ages. This is further evidence of what our students and staff are accomplishing in performing arts across the district.”

Research into music education continues to demonstrate educational/cognitive and social skill benefits for children who make music: After two years of music education, researchers found that participants showed more substantial improvements in how the brain processes speech and reading scores than their less-involved peers and that students who are involved in music are not only more likely to graduate high school but also to attend college as well. In addition, everyday listening skills are stronger in musically trained children than in those without music training. Significantly, listening skills are closely tied to the ability to: perceive speech in a noisy background, pay attention, and keep sounds in memory. Later in life, individuals who took music lessons as children show stronger neural processing of sound: young adults and even older adults who have not played an instrument for up to 50 years show enhanced neural processing compared to their peers. Not to mention, social benefits include conflict resolution, teamwork skills, and how to give and receive constructive criticism.