April 15, 2021
USC named Best Community for Music Education
Upper St. Clair School District has been named among the nation’s Best Communities for Music Education by the NAMM Foundation for the sixth consecutive year. Upper St. Clair is one of only 16 school districts in Allegheny County, 109 in Pennsylvania and 686 from across the country to earn the distinction in 2021.
“This has been an incredibly challenging year for music programs across the country,” Dr. John Rozzo, superintendent of schools, said. “I am continually impressed with the efforts and creativity of our music department faculty who continue to find and create opportunities for our students to pursue, explore and share their passion for music.”
In its 22nd year, 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.
“Music education is an important component of the Upper St. Clair educational experience for many students,” Dr. Rozzo said. “We remain committed to ensuring that our district continues to provide a vibrant performing arts program for students at every level.”
Dr. John Seybert, performing arts curriculum leader, credits the strength of the district’s music program to the music faculty, comprehensive curriculum with diverse musical experiences for all students at each school, and the extraordinary level of support from the district’s administration, parents, students and community members.
Students benefit in many ways from a robust music education program.
“Music involves much more than singing or playing an instrument, learning music requires using multiple skill sets often simultaneously,” Dr. Seybert said. “Learning music also facilitates learning other subjects and enhances skills that students will use in other areas.”
Dr. Seybert cited the research on the academic and developmental benefits of music education but also noted the impact music has on enriching students’ lives and education with lifelong benefits.
“According to the research literature, the study of music assists with language development, neural activity, spatial reasoning, test taking, and overall quality of life,” he said. “The benefit of music education is also about being musical. Music gives you a better understanding of yourself as well as an enhanced perception of how you think and express yourself.”
To qualify for the Best Communities designation, Upper St. Clair officials 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.
Other Allegheny County school districts named 2021 Best Communities for Music Education include the Avonworth, Baldwin-Whitehall School District, Chartiers Valley, Clairton City, East Allegheny, Fox Chapel Area, Gateway School District, Moon Area, Mt. Lebanon, North Allegheny, North Hills, Plum Borough, Shaler Area, West Allegheny and Woodland Hills school districts.
The NAMM Foundation is a nonprofit organization supported in part by the National Association of Music Merchants and its approximately 10,400 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.