Cobb's Music Education Program Receives National Recognition for 21st Year


The Cobb 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, Best Communities for Music Education 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 Cobb 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 by school officials and reviewed by The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.

"The Cobb County School District has been a consistent and generous supporter of music education for every student in our community for many years," said Chris Ferrell, District Supervisor of Instrumental Music. "Recognition by The NAMM Foundation is an honor that continues to highlight the exceptional quality and high standards of our music educators, students, parents, and community stakeholders."

Since the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in 2015 and a stated emphasis on a well-rounded education, many school districts have re-committed to music and arts education programs. During the pandemic, music and arts programs were vital to keeping students engaged in school. ESSA provides designated funding for well-rounded educational opportunities through Title IV, Student Academic Success, and Achievement grants. The NAMM Foundation research has revealed that these grants are being widely used by school districts to address instructional gaps in access to music and arts education. 

"Valuing the importance of Music Education Programs might not be something new for Cobb County Schools, but our appreciation cannot be expressed deeply enough. Teachers in this district continue to show support by pulling together excellent programming for each school year. We strive to never take an honor like this recognition from NAMM for granted,"  said Dr. Joseph Woodruff, Cobb's Supervisor of Performing Arts.

Research into music education continues to demonstrate educational/cognitive and social skill benefits for children who make music. After only two years of music education, researchers found that participants showed more substantial improvements in brain processes for speech and reading scores. Students 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. Significantly, listening skills are closely tied to the ability to perceive speech in a noisy background, pay attention, and keep sounds in memory. 

Music education is known to provide long-term benefits, too. Individuals who took music lessons as children show stronger neural processing of sound. Adults who have not played an instrument for up to 50 years show enhanced neural processing compared to their peers. Other benefits include increased abilities in conflict resolution, teamwork skills, and how to give and receive constructive criticism, to name a few.

Congratulations to the Cobb Schools' Music Department for this special recognition, 21 years running. Well done, Team Cobb. Keep listening, learning, and playing music!