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Williamson has been honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from The NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education. Now in its 25th year, the Best Communities for Music Education designation is awarded to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement for providing music access and education to all students.

To qualify for the Best Communities designation, WCSD 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 by school officials and reviewed by The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.

Christian DeGrave, who is a Music Teacher as well as the Middle School Band Director and Music Curriculum Coordinator for K-12, said he's long been proud of Williamson's strong offerings to students interested in many aspects of music.

"Being a recipient of this award means that our district goes above and beyond to provide musical opportunities to all of our students," Mr. DeGrave said. "From our course offerings, course enrollment, to allocation of district funds, our department is rich with musical offerings and talent. It is a great honor to receive this award!"

Many thanks go to our music department members who strive to encourage and promote music in so many ways:  Mrs. Byron, Mrs. Davis, Mrs. France, Mr. DeGrave and Mr. Tyler!  

Research into music education continues to demonstrate educational/cognitive and social skill benefits for children who make music: After two years of music education, researchers 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.

In addition, 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.

About The NAMM Foundation

The NAMM Foundation is a nonprofit supported in part by the National Association of Music Merchants and its 15,000 global member companies and individual professionals worldwide. 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

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