MCSD music education program recognized again | News, Sports, Jobs




LEWISTOWN — The Mifflin County School District 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 24th 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.

To qualify for the Best Communities designation, the Mifflin County School District 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.

“In the MCSD, our music education is outstanding and I am proud to see these programs receiving this national recognition,” Vance S. Varner, MCSD Superintendent, said. Varner stated, “Each year I am so impressed with our students’ musical performances K-12”.

What do students from the Mifflin County School District have to say about the Music Education Programs within the district?

“The Music Education program in Mifflin County, particularly the choir program, has allowed me to make lasting friendships and greatly improve my voice. Choir can be both a relaxing escape or a stressful challenge (especially with festivals). Whether you are in choir so that you can sing in a place other than at home or you are there to prepare for a career in music, the choir program has something for everyone.”

­– Racheal Saldubehere, Class of 2024, (Choir, Cantare, District Choir, Region Choir and All-State Choir)

“Throughout my entire life music has brought me joy. I’ve learned to work hard, appreciate art and better myself as a person. Music Education has not only been a huge part of my high school career but will also be influential to me as an adult.”

— Alex Garner, Class of 2024 (Concert Band, Marching Band, Jazz Band, District Band, Regional Band, Choir, District Choir, Regional Choir, All-State Choir and All-East Choir)

“Music Education has been one of the most important aspects of my education thus far.An opportunity to explore one’s creative side, as well as a unique and fun way of learning basic math skills.Music has been an incredible help to my overall academic career and I am certain it is for other students as well.With music, students can also develop collaboration and social skills which are needed in all areas of life.”

— Gunnar Wagner, Class of 2023 (Concert Band, Concert Choir, Cantare, District Choir, Region Choir, All-State Choir and All-East Choir)

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. 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.

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