North Brunswick Township Music Education Program receives national recognition four years running

Stephen Komar, left to right, Brian Lin, Isis Dormer-Whitman, Andrea Harris, Philip Depeine, Anisha Vakkalagadda, Sunidhi Mitikiri, Estela Lopes and Jamie Egan.
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Stephen Komar, left to right, Brian Lin, Isis Dormer-Whitman, Andrea Harris, Philip Depeine, Anisha Vakkalagadda, Sunidhi Mitikiri, Estela Lopes and Jamie Egan.

NORTH BRUNSWICK – The North Brunswick Township School District has been honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from The NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education for the fourth consecutive year.

This award recognizes that North Brunswick is leading the way with learning opportunities as outlined in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA.) ESSA recommends music and the arts as important elements of a well-rounded education for all children, according to information provided by James Egan, supervisor of music for the North Brunswick School District, on behalf of the NAMM Foundation.

“Music is very important because it gives us a chance to express ourselves in a way that regular academic courses do not,” Matthew Liguori, a vocal student at North Brunswick Township High School (NBTHS), said in the statement.

To qualify for the Best Communities designation, North Brunswick answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities and support for the music programs. Responses were verified with school officials and reviewed by The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas, according to the statement.

Research into music education continues to demonstrate educational/cognitive and social skill benefits for children who make music, according to the statement. After two years of music education, research found that participants showed more substantial improvements in how the brain processes speech and reading scores than their less-involved peers. It also found that students who are involved in music are not only more likely to graduate high school, but also to attend college as well.

Everyday listening skills are stronger in musically-trained children that in those without music training, according to the statement. 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. Not to mention, social benefits include conflict resolution, teamwork skills, and how to give and receive constructive criticism, according to the statement.

”Music is important because it gives us an opportunity to grow emotionally as people by working in teams to create expressive artistic performances. North Brunswick is special because, as a singer I, get to perform with the band, orchestra, and percussion programs,” vocal student Nicole Vega said in the statement.

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

The honor comes on the heels of recent recognition from the North Brunswick Board of Education and Superintendent Brian Zychowski. The North Brunswick Township Council honored the district’s Music Department last month with a proclamation for supporting all town events.

“Collaborations like this are often talked about, but here in North Brunswick, we are tightly integrated into the fabric of the entire community. You can find our students honoring veterans, performing for town sponsored holiday celebrations, giving free concerts at the senior center, performing at Board of Education meetings, and at many other town memorials and celebrations,” Egan said in the statement.

North Brunswick music students also compete on a statewide and national level in voice, percussion, orchestra, band and theater.

“The style of how we are taught is only through love. We do it for the love of the art and for each other. We aren’t taught through intimidation or to chase awards. As a family, we do what we do, to be the best we can as one collective sound,” NBTHS drum major Talysa Jimenez said in the statement.

For more information about the NAMM Foundation, visit www.nammfoundation.org.

For more information on the North Brunswick music program, visit nbtschools.org.