The Best Communities for Music Education

Nationwide survey finds school districts committed to music education as a conduit for success in school and in life

February 27, 2007

According to the results of the eighth annual “Best 100 Communities for Music Education” survey, repeat recipients of this prestigious distinction cite increased enrollment in and funding for school music programs. While music education has been linked to higher SAT scores, math grades and future success in life, the survey also found that many students hailing from a "Best 100" community have continued their musical pursuits professionally as educators, or playing for renowned symphonies, opera houses, orchestras and on Broadway. Several former students have even become acclaimed recording artists, including Outkast, Bob Seeger, Iggy Pop, Tanya Tucker and Isaac Hayes.

The "Best 100" survey was sponsored by the NAMM Foundation, its American Music Conference (AMC) division and a partnership of leading national associations working to promote the benefits of active participation in music and music education. The roster of "Best 100" schools is listed below.

Thousands of teachers, school and district administrators, school board members and parents and community leaders, representing communities in all 50 states, participated in the Web-based survey. The 2007 roster includes school districts from 31 states that are committed to quality music education programs and providing access to music education. The districts were measured across a variety of program support, curricular and programmatic criteria. Because the criteria in the survey are measured proportionally, large communities and small ones are able to participate on an equal footing.

“Arts are designated as core subjects within the federal No Child Left Behind Act, and the districts that participated in the ‘Best 100’ survey, and those who are being recognized here today, know that music education is connected to success in school and in life,” said Mary Luehrsen, director of Public Affairs and Government Relations, NAMM. “The results of this year’s survey found that music programs receive support from many parts of a community—teachers, administrators, boards of education and community members, including local business owners. Parents, however, are the strongest force in assuring that young people have access to music as part of a complete education.” Luehrsen encourages parents who are committed to music and arts education for their children to become active locally by supporting efforts to be sure that all children have equal access. Support for community-based advocacy is available at icon link

Participants in the survey answered detailed questions about funding, enrollment, student-teacher ratios, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program, private music lesson participation and other factors in their communities’ music education program. The responses were verified with district officials, and the sponsoring organizations reviewed the data.

According to Kara Ireland D’Ambrosio, a music teacher at four-time designee Woodside School District in California, the distinction led to increased funding for the music program and built greater recognition of the program within the community. Woodside’s music students are often asked to perform at community events and celebrations.

Other districts have reported that becoming a "Best 100 Community" has helped to foster additional partnerships with local businesses and colleges; energize teachers to make further enhancements to the programs; and raise community and school pride.

In leading the annual survey, AMC is joined by a partnership of leading organizations in the fields of music and education:

The Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation (icon link
The Metropolitan Opera Guild (icon link
Music for All (icon link
Music Teachers National Association (icon link
NAMM, the International Music Products Association (icon
National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts (icon
National School Boards Association (icon link
Yamaha Corporation of America (icon link
VH1 Save The Music Foundation (icon link

The survey was conducted by Perseus Development Corp. of Braintree, Mass.

For more information about the nationwide music education survey and the organizations that sponsored it, Jodi Burack, 914.798.7132/icon email

The complete “Best 100 Communities for Music Education” roster is listed by state.

District City ST
Homewood City Schools Homewood AL
Lafayette School District Lafayette CA
Woodside School District Woodside CA
Academy District 20 Colorado Springs CO
Bethel Public Schools Bethel CT
Cheshire Public Schools Cheshire CT
Torrington Public Schools Torrington CT
School District Of Hillsborough County Tampa FL
Cobb County School District Marietta GA
Fulton County Schools Atlanta GA
MSD Lawrence Township Indianapolis IN
Jefferson-Scranton Community School District Jefferson IA
Andover Public Schools Andover KS
Paducah Public Schools Paducah KY
Baltimore County Public Schools Towson MD
Wicomico County School District Salisbury MD
Ann Arbor Public Schools Ann Arbor MI
Clarkston Community Schools Clarkston MI
Jenison Public Schools Jenison MI
Kentwood Public Schools Kentwood MI
Midland Public Schools Midland MI
Troy School District Troy MI
Waterford School District Waterford MI
Eden Prairie Schools Eden Prairie MN
Independent School District #833 Cottage Grove MN
Robbinsdale Area Schools New Hope MN
Gulfport School District Gulfport MS
Oxford City School District Oxford MS
Osage County R-II Schools Linn MO
Missoula County Public Schools Missoula MT
Fargo Public Schools Fargo ND
Flemington Raritan Regional School District Flemington NJ
Roxbury Township School District Succasunna NJ
South Brunswick Public Schools Monmouth Junction NJ
Amherst Central School District Amherst NY
Arlington Central School District Poughkeepsie NY
Clarence Central School District Clarence NY
Clarkstown Central School District New City NY
Copiague Unified School District Copiague NY
East Ramapo Central School District Spring Valley NY
Fayetteville-Manlius Central School District Manlius NY
Greece Central School District North Greece NY
Herricks Union Free School District No. 9 New Hyde Park NY
Jericho Union Free School District Jericho NY
Johnson City Central School District Johnson City NY
Le Roy Central School District Le Roy NY
Monroe-Woodbury Central School District Central Valley NY
New Hartford Central Schools New Hartford NY
Pennsbury School District Penfield NY
Pittsford Central Schools Pittsford NY
Rush-Henrietta Central School District Henrietta NY
West Genesee Central School District Camillus NY
West Irondequoit Central School District Rochester NY
Whitesboro Central School District Yorkville NY
Monticello Central School District Monticello NY
Port Jefferson School District Port Jefferson NY
Millard Public Schools Omaha NE
Clark County School District Las Vegas NV
Bay Village City School District Bay Village OH
Berea City School District Berea OH
Canfield Local School District Canfield OH
Cuyahoga Heights Local Cuyahoga Heights OH
Manchester Local Schools Manchester OH
Olmsted Falls City Schools Olmsted Falls OH
Perrysburg Exempted Village School District Perrysburg OH
Altus Public Schools Altus OK
Cumberland Valley School District Mechanicsburg PA
Quaker Valley Sewickley PA
Springfield School District Springfield PA
State College Area State College PA
Williamsport Area School District Williamsport PA
Derry Township School District Hershey PA
Mount Lebanon School District Pittsburgh PA
York County School District #3 Rock Hill SC
Memphis City Schools Memphis City TN
Union City School System Union City TN
Arlington Independent School district Arlington TX
Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD Carrollton TX
Denton Independent School District Denton TX
Georgetown Independent School District Georgetown TX
Hidalgo Independent School District Hidalgo TX
Hurst-Euless-Bedford Independent School District Bedford TX
Katy Independent School District Katy TX
Klein Independent School District Spring TX
Lewisville Independent School District Flower Mound TX
Pasadena Independent School District Pasadena TX
Pearland Independent School District Pearland TX
Plano Independent School District Plano TX
Bristol Virginia City Schools Bristol VA
Chesapeake City Public Schools Chesapeake VA
Chesterfield County Public Schools Chesterfield VA
Henrico County Public Schools Richmond VA
Manassas City Public Schools Manassas VA
Newport News Public Schools Newport News VA
Roanoke County Public Schools Roanoke VA
Wetzel County Schools New Martinsville WV
Edmonds School District Lynnwood WA
Olympia School District # 111 Olympia WA
Hortonville Area School District Hortonville WI
School District of Kohler Kohler WI