From the youngest elementary students just beginning to learn the rudiments of music to the accomplished musicians earning statewide recognition in high school, McKinney ISD has earned a well-deserved reputation for providing top-notch music education from beginning to end of its students’ academic careers.
In recognition of that commitment, MISD has been included in the 2017 list of Best Communities for Music Education by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM), placing MISD among a select group that represents only about 4 percent of the roughly 14,000 U.S. school districts.
“NAMM has, for many years, recognized communities with strong and vibrant music education programs,” said MISD Director of Fine Arts Dr. Dan White. “To be considered, districts must complete an extensive application that includes information on student participation, demographic representation, staffing for all music groups, budgetary and administrative staff support and examples of program success. It is an honor to be recognized this year by the NAMM Foundation and, most importantly, a great tribute to the fantastic work by all the music teachers in MISD.”
The NAMM Best Communities for Education program began 18 years ago to recognize “outstanding efforts by teachers, administrators, parents, students and community leaders who have made music education part of the curriculum,” according to a recent NAMM press release.
The NAMM Foundation works alongside researchers from the Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas to evaluate school districts and compile its list each year. These districts set the bar in offering students access to comprehensive music education.
And, MISD music students make the most of their opportunities to shine. In addition to students earning individual state honors each year, MISD ensembles have flourished as well, and the district boasts the distinction of having had a TMEA Honor Choir at every level (McKinney Boyd High School, Evans Middle School and Eddins Elementary School). In addition, the Faubion Middle School Symphonic I Band, Faubion Honors Orchestra, Cockrill Middle School Honors Band and McKinney Boyd Honors Orchestra have all performed at the internationally famous Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic in recent years.
In 2015, the Faubion Full Orchestra earned the title of TMEA Middle School Honor Full Orchestra, a distinction awarded each year to the best middle school orchestra in the state. Over the past few years, the Cockrill Middle School Honors Band has made a tradition of earning the title of National Winner in the Mark of Excellence National Wind Band Honors Contest. And, in a feat that is rarely accomplished, the McKinney High School and McKinney North High School Marching Bands qualified for the state marching contest during the same year in 2015.
But, the benefits of the training MISD music students receive go beyond nurturing and developing their artistic talents.
“Studying music has intrinsic benefits and, on its own, is core to learning,” NAMM Foundation Executive Director Mary Luehrsen said in the NAMM release. “Also, the links between student success and music education have now been demonstrated by brain researchers in multiple studies. The schools and districts our foundation recognizes are building on that connection between music and academics. These schools and districts are models for other educators who see music as a key ingredient in a well-rounded curriculum that makes music available to all children, regardless of zip code,” she said.
To find testimony of the tremendous importance of music education, one need look no further than Faubion Middle School and the moving story of Band Director Brian Beck (http://www.mckinneyisd.net/news/press/default.asp?Display=775), who struggled to make it through elementary school—until he stumbled upon music. It changed the trajectory of his life.
Or just pull aside a student in any MISD band class—or choir, or orchestra, and you’ll find stories that go far beyond notes on a page.
Music education opens doors, and if you listen carefully and look closely, you’ll find them all across the district. Some open to friendship and belonging. Others lead to success on a stage. For some, those doors lead to greater academic achievement.
And, for a few students, the door standing open before them will completely change their lives.
For additional information on McKinney ISD, contact Shane Mauldin, MISD Communications Coordinator, at 469-302-4007 or firstname.lastname@example.org.