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Scarsdale Schools Earn National Honor for Music

SCARSDALE, N.Y. – The Scarsdale School District added another accolade this week when it was chosen as one of 166 school districts for the North American Music Merchants' (NAMM) Best Communities for Music Education designation.

According to its website , "the NAMM Foundation is a non-profit organization with the mission of advancing active participation in music making across the lifespan by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving and public service programs from the international music products industry."

Craig P. Sherman, coordinator of music and performing arts for Scarsdale schools, said, "We are proud to have received this designation and will continue to strive to encourage our students with as many varied opportunities and experiences in the arts as we can offer."

Sherman said Scarsdale offers its students from kindergarten through grade a music education program that "is vast and eclectic."

"As early as kindergarten, our students are exploring movement, music and seeing the arts through a collaboration with the Lincoln Center Institute," he said. "Our students work with trained teachers alongside Lincoln Center artists and see culminating performances on site in confirmation of their learning."

In third grade, every student experiences instrumental music with the band and orchestra specialists in their school, he said. The full ensemble program in band, orchestra and chorus begins for every child in fourth grade.

At the middle school level, an Exploring Music program with units including world drumming, guitar and keyboard skills is added to the program of ensembles. "Technology is an integrated component that includes composition, arranging, analysis and presentations involving film, music, visual and history," said Sherman.

The high school has a collection of electives that meets the needs of all students, he said, including those who are not performers. "Each genre offers multiple large and small ensembles. Some other courses are multiple levels of music theory including Advanced Topics, jazz improvisation, jazz history, computer music, music appreciation, a piano class, multiple levels of acting and more."

While music and the arts are often among the first school programs to face cutbacks, Sherman said studies show the importance of their inclusion in the curriculum.

"Involving students in the arts is more important than ever," he said. "Educational research dictates that students that study the creative arts are more successful in all areas of academics. Our district initiatives include fostering and encouraging critical and creative thinking, and a strong performing and visual arts program throughout the school system is an integral part of that priority."

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