Here’s some good news! For the second year in a row, Browne Academyhas been honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from The NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education. This year Browne received the 2020 Merit Award from the organization and was one of only two schools in Virginia to do so.
Now in its 21st year, the Best Communities for Music Education designation is awarded to schools and districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students. To qualify for the Best Communities designation, Browne Academyanswered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music programs, Responses were verified with school officials and reviewed by The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.
During this time of distance learning, Browne continues to offer a strong music curriculum, albeit from afar. All students from preschool-8th grade are continuing their study of music, both via synchronous methods (live classes via Zoom for middle school students) and asynchronous methods (videos to watch and activities to do at home for younger learners). In addition to classroom activities, Browne’s music teachers continue to offer private lessons via Zoom and, to build community, are hosting Zoom open mic nights every week for students, parents, and staff. Even though campus is quiet, Browne continues to sing, dance, and make music of all kinds.
Research into music education consistently demonstrates educational/cognitive and social skill benefits for children who make music. After two years of music education, research found that participants showed more substantial improvements in how the brain processes speech and reading scores than their less-involved peers and that students who are involved in music are not only more likely to graduate high school, but also to attend college as well.
“It is unique that Browne can offer a full roster of band, orchestra, chorus, musical theater and general music classes to all of its students in the Middle School. Not only can students pursue their musical interests in these ensembles, but they can do so with the best materials and supplies. Browne Academy boasts a complete collection of Orff Instruments, a class set of ukuleles and guitars, a full-sized marimba, glockenspiel and bass drum, and multiple high quality electric keyboards including a baby grand piano keyboard. There is always something exciting happening in the music room!” -- Lucia Schaefer, Director of Music for the Middle School
Everyday listening skills are stronger in musically trained children than in those without music training. Significantly, listening skills are closely tied to the ability to: perceive speech in a noisy background, pay attention, and keep 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.
“We are very fortunate at Browne to have such a supportive community for the arts. Our parents, teachers, grounds team, and administration are incredibly involved with our programs. The amount of teamwork that goes into our shows starts in the music room but extends throughout our community. This award truly goes out to the Browne community as a whole. Without their unending support and trust, our music program would not be what it is today. It is truly an impressive endeavour, which we all contribute to because we love our kids and see how much light shines through them when they are making music or performing.” -- Brittany Brandt, Director of Music for the Lower School