Newburgh Enlarged City School District’s Music Education Program Receives National Recognition for the Third Consecutive Year!


Newburgh, NY – April 7, 2020 The Newburgh Enlarged City School District has been honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from The NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education for the third consecutive year!

Now in its 21st 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. This award recognizes that NECSDis leading the way with learning opportunities as outlined in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The legislation guides implementation in the states and replaces the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) which was often criticized for an overemphasis on testing-while leaving behind subjects such as music. ESSA recommends music and the arts as important elements of a well-rounded education for all children. 

“Once again, this award recognizes the tremendous efforts of our highly qualified music educators at every level, and the continued commitment to exceptional music education for ALL our fine and performing arts scholars by our administrators, parents/guardians, and community stakeholders. The core of NECSD is ‘Nurturing-Empowering-Collaborative-Student Centered-Diversity,’ and nowhere is that more evident than in the many educational opportunities included in our Fine and Performing Arts department, as we continue ‘Inspiring lifelong learners, consumers, and participators in the Arts.’ It is a privilege to be a part of such an innovative, caring, outstanding department and district that values music education as an essential part of the learning process.” -Lynda Keech, Director of Fine and Performing Arts.

“There is tremendous talent throughout our district. It is an honor to receive this award based on the dedication and skill demonstrated by our scholars and faculty. We value music education because of the positive impact it has on our lives. Music education is fundamental to learning and we will continue to explore ways to enhance our programs.” 

Research into music education continues to demonstrate 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. 

Everyday listening skills are stronger in musically-trained children that 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.

A 2015 study supported by The NAMM Foundation, “Striking A Chord,” also outlines the overwhelming desire by teachers and parents for music education opportunities for all children as part of the school curriculum.

About The NAMM Foundation

The NAMM Foundation is a nonprofit supported in part by the National Association of Music Merchants and its approximately 10,400 members around the world. 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

To qualify for the Best Communities designation, NECSD answered 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.

The NECSD Empire Steel Band (steel pan) ensemble began this summer, and the Drumline continues to make great strides and performs in and out of the district. There were musicals at Fostertown, and a Halloween performance at HOH. Fall drama occurred at NFA, and SMS had a play in December as well. The FPA department was proudly represented by 8 performing arts scholars at the NYSSMA Area All-State festival in November, and this year we were thrilled to announce that a Choir student at NFA was selected to perform in the NYSSMA Conference All-State Mixed Choir in December. These students were also recognized/performed at BOE meetings. Our art scholars participated in a Winter Card Contest once again, and a 1st-grade student from Balmville was the winner, and was recognized at a BOE meeting! NFA Choir students performed with the Greater Newburgh Symphony Orchestra in December, the NFA Band students performed for the D-Day celebration again, and the NFA Madrigals continue to perform regularly throughout the community. NFAN orchestra students performed for the Newburgh Retired Teachers Association at their December luncheon. Students participated in the Orange County Music Educators Association High School All-County festival, and the High School All-County Jazz festival, and students were just selected to participate in the Junior High All-County festival. The Superintendent’s Celebration of the Arts theme this year was “Theater”, and a fabulous performance occurred in February with performing arts scholars from across the district participating! Over 290 pieces of student art were displayed at Safe Harbours of the Hudson as part of one of the 3 spring art shows, and a reception was held for all participants and their families in March. Spring musicals included NFA “In the Heights”, HMS “Shrek, Jr.”, and SMS “Beauty and the Beast, Jr.”. The Newburgh All-District Band, Chorus, and Orchestra rehearsed with guest conductors, and included 234 students from across the district!