The Wilton Public School district has been honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from The NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education.

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

“We are thrilled to receive this recognition and want to thank and congratulate the many teachers, students and parents who understand the importance of music instruction as an integral part of our program and support our on-going efforts provide a world class music education program” said Superintendent Kevin Smith.

According to a released issued by the district, this award “recognizes that Wilton is leading the way with learning opportunities as outlined in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The legislation guides implementation in the states and replaces the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) which was often criticized for an overemphasis on testing-while leaving behind subjects such as music. ESSA recommends music and the arts as important elements of a well-rounded education for all children.”

“This distinction is very well-deserved, and serves as a worthy tribute to the skill and dedication of our music teachers, the hard work of our students, the commitment of our parents, and the support from our administration at the building and district levels. The benefits of an arts education are well-documented, and thanks to the outstanding support of the Wilton community,
we will continue to provide rich, comprehensive, and fulfilling experiences in music for our students” said Nick Loafman, Fine and Performing Arts Instructional Leader.

Research into music education continues to demonstrate educational/cognitive and social skill benefits for children who make music. In a series of landmark studies by scientists and researchers at Northwestern University a link was found between students in community music programs and life-long academic success, including higher high school graduation rates and college attendance. In another study from the University, it was discovered that the benefits of early exposure to music education improves how the brain processes and assimilates sounds, a trait that lasts well into adulthood.

Beyond the Northwestern research, other studies have indicated that music education lays the foundation for individual excellence in group settings, creative problem solving and flexibility in work situations, as well learning how to give and receive constructive criticism to excel.

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.