Far Hills Country Day School (FH) has been honored with the SupportMusic Merit Award from The NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education for the fifth consecutive year.
The SupportMusic Merit Award recognizes individual schools that demonstrate outstanding achievement to provide music access and education to all students.
To qualify for the SupportMusic Merit Award, FH answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, and support for the music-making programs. Responses were verified with school officials and reviewed by The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.
"Far Hills values our award-winning Music Department and its continued successes. We are honored to be recognized by the NAMM Foundation as a recipient of the SupportMusic Merit Award for the fifth year in a row," said Georgia Zaiser, Head of School. "Despite experiencing restrictions this year, we had great support from our faculty, staff, parent, and student community to adapt and keep our programs progressing in alternative and creative ways. I couldn't be more proud of this achievement."
This award recognizes that FH leads the way with learning opportunities as outlined in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). This legislation guides policy implementation in the states and replaces the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). NCLB is often criticized for overemphasizing testing while leaving behind subjects such as music. ESSA recommends music and the arts as essential elements of a well-rounded education for all children.
Research into music education demonstrates educational/cognitive and social skill benefits for children who make music. After two years of music education, the research found that participants showed more substantial improvements in how the brain processes speech and reading scores than their less-involved peers. Students involved in music are more likely to graduate high school and attend college as well. Everyday listening skills are more robust in musically-trained children than in those without music training. Significantly, listening skills are closely tied to perceiving speech in a noisy background, paying attention, and keeping sounds in memory. Later in life, individuals who took music lessons as children show stronger neural processing of sound; young adults and even older adults who have not played an instrument for up to 50 years show enhanced neural processing compared to their peers. Not to mention, social benefits include conflict resolution, teamwork skills, and how to give and receive constructive criticism.
A 2015 study supported by The NAMM Foundation, "Striking A Chord," also outlines teachers' and parents' overwhelming desire for music education opportunities for all children as part of the school curriculum.