100 Communities Named Best in America for Music Education

Actually, Make That 101 Communities; First-Ever Tie Emerges as Leading Music and Education Groups Unveil Results of Annual Nationwide Survey.

March 30, 2005

For the sixth year in a row, a survey conducted by a partnership of leading music and educational organizations has identified the "Best 100 Communities for Music Education in America."

Because of an unprecedented tie, this year's "Best 100" actually comprises 101 communities. The 2005 roster includes school districts from 34 different states whose commitment to quality music education—measured across a variety of economic, curricular and programmatic criteria—has enabled them to stand out despite the many pressures on music programs across the country. The list is appended below, and the complete results, along with background information on music education and the survey, can be seen in their entirety at www.amc-music.org.

The unveiling of the survey results coincides with "Music In Our Schools Month," an observance that highlights this vital topic every March. In a 2003 nationwide Gallup Poll, 93 percent of Americans said that schools should offer musical instrument instruction as part of the regular curriculum. The mental and physical benefits of active music making have been well documented over the last decade. However, tight budgets in many of the 50 states have squeezed school music budgets, and music programs remain imperiled even in communities on the "Best 100" list.

This year's survey was conducted jointly by the country's top organizations devoted to music and learning. The American Music Conference (www.amc-music.org) joined MENC: The National Association for Music Education (www.menc.org), The Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation (www.mhopus.org), The Music for All Foundation (www.music-for-all.org), The Music Teachers National Association (www.mtna.org), The National School Boards Association (www.nsba.org), Yamaha Corporation of America (www.yamaha.com) and VH1 Save The Music Foundation (www.vh1savethemusic.com) in creating the survey and interpreting the results. Perseus Development Corp. of Braintree, Mass., (www.perseus.com) donated its time and expertise to implement the Web survey and to analyze the data it generated.

Because the criteria in the survey are measured proportionally, large communities and small ones are able to participate on an equal footing—and the results bear out the conclusion that communities of varying sizes and levels of affluence have an equal chance of making the "Best 100" list. Where people value music and resolve that their children won't be denied its benefits, parents and educators find a way to succeed.

"We all know about the pressures that are endangering music programs around the country," says AMC Associate Executive Director Laura Johnson. "As we work to ensure that every child has a quality musical education, it's important to shine the spotlight on those communities that have risen to the challenge so well. Theirs is an example worth following."

A 2001 study published by The College Entrance Examination Board found that students in music appreciation scored 63 points higher on the verbal and 44 points higher on the math sections of the SAT than students with no arts participation. U.S. Department of Education data on more than 25,000 secondary school students indicates that students who report consistent high levels of involvement in instrumental music over the middle and high school years show "significantly higher levels of mathematics proficiency by grade 12." And a Canadian study published in the August 2004 issue of Psychological Science showed that young students who underwent nine weeks of piano or voice training showed increases in IQ that were greater than the increases in kids without musical activity. Similar studies continue to emerge.

Thousands of public school and independent teachers, school and district administrators, school board members, parents and community leaders, representing communities in all 50 states, participated in the Web-based survey during January, February and March. Participants in the survey answered detailed questions about funding, enrollment, student-teacher ratios, participation in music classes, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program, participation in private music lessons and other factors in their communities' quality of music education. The responses were verified with district officials, and the sponsoring organizations reviewed the data.

For more information about the nationwide music education survey and the organizations that sponsored it, call the American Music Conference at 760.431.9124 or visit www.amc-music.org on the Web.

School District NameCityStateAbington Heights School DistrictClarks SummitPAAldine Independent School DistrictHoustonTXArlington Independent School DistrictArlingtonTXArlington Public SchoolsArlingtonVAAuburn School District No.408AuburnWAAvon Lake City School DistrictAvon LakeOHBay Village City School DistrictBay VillageOHBerlin Boro Board of EducationBerlinNJBinghamton City School DistrictBinghamtonNYBozeman Public SchoolsBozemanMTBucyrus City School DistrictBucyrusOHBurlington City School DistrictBurlingtonNJCamp Hill School DistrictCamp HillPACedar Grove-Belgium Public SchoolsCedar GroveWICentral Kitsap School DistrictSilverdaleWACentral York School DistrictYorkPACheshire Public SchoolsCheshireCTCity School District of New RochelleNew RochelleNYClarence Central SchoolClarenceNYClark County School DistrictLas VegasNVClovis Municipal SchoolsClovisNMCobb County School DistrictMariettaGACommunity Unit School District 200WheatonILConestoga Valley School DistrictLancasterPAConverse County School District #2GlernockWYCorning-Painted Post Area School DistrictPainted PostNYCranford Public SchoolsCranfordNJCupertino Union School DistrictCupertinoCADearborn Public SchoolsDearbornMIEast Brunswick Twp School DistrictEast BrunswickNJEastern Lancaster County School DistrictNew HollandPAEphrata Area School DistrictEphrataPAFairfax County Public SchoolsFairfaxVAForestville School DistrictForestvilleCAFort Bend Independent School DistrictSugar LandTXFox Chapel Area School DistrictPittsburghPAFrenship Independent School DistrictWolfforthTXFulton County SchoolsAtlantaGAGarden City Union Free School DistrictGarden CityNYGarland Independent School DistrictGarlandTXGrand Forks Public School District #1Grand ForksNDGreat Neck Union Free School DistrictGreat NeckNYGreenwich School DistrictGreenwichCTGwinnett County Public SchoolsLawrencevilleGAHenrico County Public SchoolsRichmondVAHillsborough County School DistrictTampaFLHomewood City SchoolsHomewoodALHorry County School DistrictConwaySCHortonville Area School DistrictHortonvilleWIHoward County Public Schools SystemEllicott CityMDHudson School DistrictHudsonWIKingsport City SchoolsKingsportTNLafayette School DistrictLafayetteCALampeter-Strasburg School DistrictLampeterPALewisville ISDLewisvilleTXLincoln Public SchoolsLincolnNELoudoun County Public SchoolsLeesburgVAMaine Consolidated School District #10ParksAZMarshall Public SchoolsMarshallMNMeade 46-1 School Dist.SturgisSDMelrose Public SchoolsMelroseMAMillard School DistrictOmahaNEMount Pleasant City School DistrictMount PleasantMINew Hanover County SchoolsWilmingtonNCNew Hope-Solebury School DistrictNew HopePANew Providence School DistrictNew ProvidenceNJNewton Local School DistrictPleasant HillOHNorth Merrick Union Free School DistrictNorth MerrickNYNorth Rockland Central School DistrictGarnervilleNYNorthport-East Northport UFSDNorthportNYNutley Town SchoolsNutleyNJOppenheim-Ephratah Central SchoolSt. JohnsvilleNYOrange County School DistrictOrlandoFLParamus Public SchoolsParamusNJPearl Public School DistrictPearlMSPennsbury School DistrictFallsingtonPAPiscataway Township SchoolsPiscatawayNJPulaski County SchoolsSomersetKYQuaker Valley School DistrictSewickleyPARed Rock Central SchoolsLambertonMNRocky Point Union Free School DistrictRocky PointNYSaint Lucie County School DistrictFort PierceFLSchool District of Oconee CountyWalhallaSCSouthwestern CSD at JamestownJamestownNYSpringfield R-xii Public SchoolsSpringfieldMOState College Area School DistrictState CollegePASummit Hill District 161FrankfortILTippecanoe School CorporationLafayetteINTorrington Public SchoolsTorringtonCTTrinity Area School DistrictWashingtonPAUkiah Unified School DistrictUkiahCAVan Buren Local School DistrictVan BurenOHWarrensburg R-VIWarrensburgMOWaterford School DistrictWaterfordMIWest Genesee Central School DistrictCamillusNYWest Irondequoit Central School DistrictRochesterNYWest Milford Township Public SchoolsWest MilfordNJWicomico County Board of EducationSalisburyMDWilliamsport Area School DistrictWilliamsportPAWinfield School District 34WinfieldILWorcester County Public SchoolsNewarkMD