Best Communities for Music Education

Photo courtesy of the NAMM Foundation

The NAMM Foundation announced the results of its 11th annual “Best Communities for Music Education” survey in May as part of “National Wanna Play Music Week.” 174 school districts received the honorable designation, representing 30 different states.

Many previous designees have reported to the NAMM Foundation that the honor has helped them as leverage when battling budget cuts or asking for more funding.

“Past designees have benefi ted by receiving this mark of excellence, but this year’s economic environment is challenging for many communities,” said Mary Luehrsen, NAMM Foundation executive director, in a press release. “Even having earned this designation, schools are working hard to keep programs strong in the midst of some of the deepest education cuts seen in decades. We hope this award presented at this critical time will compel communities to reconsider cuts that we know are in play in many districts across the U.S.”

New York had the most representation, with 47 districts on the list. Pennsylvania came in second with 21 districts, followed by Ohio with 14, Texas with 13, and New Jersey with 11.

An online survey was made available to all districts and filled out by school administrators or teachers. Districts were judged on “funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program and other relevant factors.” Communities that placed in the 80th percentile received the designation.

While all the designees demonstrated excellence in music education in general, the list does not necessarily correspond with the most decorated marching programs. For example, Indiana’s Avon Community Schools Corporation, home of the Bands of America Grand Nationals Champions Avon High School, does not appear on the list, and neither does New Jersey’s Roxbury School District, home of the U.S. Scholastic Band Association’s Group VI National Champions Roxbury High School.

However several familiar names do appear on the list, such as the Hurst-Euless-Bedford Independent School District in Texas, home of BOA runner-up L.D. Bell High School, among others. For more information and to see the complete list, visit

About author

Elizabeth Geli

Elizabeth Geli is the assistant editor of Halftime Magazine and a journalist/communications professional in Southern California. Her 11 years at the University of Southern California (USC) Trojan Marching Band included time as a flute player, graduate teaching assistant, and student advocate. She holds a bachelor's degree in Print Journalism and master's degree in Specialized Journalism (The Arts) from USC.

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