OCS’s Music Education Program Receives National Recognition

Oberlin named a Best Community for Music for the 5th time


Oberlin, Ohio (March 30, 2016) – Oberlin City Schools has been honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from the NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education.  Oberlin City Schools joins 476 districts across the country in receiving the prestigious award in 2016. 

The Best Communities Music Education designation is awarded to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students. 

Districts that have been recognized by the NAMM Foundation are often held up as models for other educators looking to boost their own music education programs. 

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

This award recognizes that Oberlin City Schools is leading the way with learning opportunities as outlined in the new federal education legislation, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The legislation, signed into law in December 2015, replaces No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), which was often criticized for an overemphasis on testing—while leaving behind subject such as music. ESSA recommends music and the arts as important elements of well-rounded education for all children.

“Art and music education aids students in skills needed in the workplace: flexibility, the ability to solve problems, communicate, the ability to learn new skills, to be creative and innovative, to strive for excellence” stated Dr. David Hall Superintendent for Oberlin City Schools. The district fully supports the importance of Fine Arts in our school system. Our nationally recognized Fine Arts program continuously enriches our student’s lives academically and socially in our district. Through many financial challenges all school systems face, this is an area our school district recognizes as “off limits.” There is a researched based correlation between achievement and fine arts. This research is often placed secondary in some school systems. But, Oberlin City Schools embraces the research and makes it a priority. We are very fortunate to have the community and Oberlin College behind us to support our Fine Arts initiatives in our school system. 

As Oberlin City Schools finalizes its 2016-2017 budget, the NAMM Foundation’s Best Communities for Music Education Award and the implementation of the federal ESSA law bring attention to the importance of keeping music education part of the school’s core education for all students. It also highlights music’s vital role in students’ overall success in school.

Community music programs have been drawing increased attention because of a landmark study by Northwestern University brain scientists. These researchers found new links between students in community music programs and academic success in subjects such as reading.  Beyond the Northwestern study, other reports indicate that learning to play music can boost academic and social skills, such as processing math and learning to cooperate in group settings. 

A 2015 study, “Striking A Chord” supported by the NAMM Foundation, also outlines the overwhelming desire by teachers and parents for music education opportunities for all children as part of the school curriculum. 

Our school district has a proud tradition of integrating the Fine Arts into the curriculum. We utilized our great community resources like Kendal, Oberlin College Conservatory, FAVA (Firelands Association for the Visual Arts) and our active community members and alumni to enhance our Fine Art programs. When you drive through the City of Oberlin, you can see many of our student’s artwork hanging from the downtown streetlights. Our Fine Art programs receive great support from the City of Oberlin and many community organizations. The district currently will have our student’s fantastic Artwork displayed at the Lorain County Educational Service Center (ESC) in April and our great band will provide Disney with another astonishing performance this school year.  I’m very proud of our students, teachers, and community supporters in our school system for receiving this acknowledgement. 

About The NAMM Foundation: 

The NAMM Foundation is a nonprofit supported in part by the National Association of Music Merchants and its approximately 10,300 members around the world. The foundation advances active participation in music making across the lifespan by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving and public service programs. For more information about the NAMM Foundation, please visit www.nammfoundation.org.