The Troy High School symphony orchestra, pictured, was one of the musical classes and clubs that earned Troy Public Schools a Best Community for Music Education designation.

The Troy High School symphony orchestra, pictured, was one of the musical classes and clubs that earned Troy Public Schools a Best Community for Music Education designation.

Photo provided by Brian Nutting


Troy honored for devotion to music education

By: Brendan Losinski | Troy Times | Published May 5, 2022

 The Troy Athens High School Red Hawk marching band, like many music programs, had a difficult time practicing during the pandemic, but coaches and school staff have worked hard to keep the quality of their musical education strong.

The Troy Athens High School Red Hawk marching band, like many music programs, had a difficult time practicing during the pandemic, but coaches and school staff have worked hard to keep the quality of their musical education strong.

Photo provided by Brian Nutting

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TROY — For the 15th year in a row, Troy Public Schools was named one of the nation’s Best Communities for Music Education by the National Association of Music Merchants and the Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.

The award recognizes the outstanding efforts of teachers, administrators, parents, students and community leaders who have made exemplary music education part of their district’s curriculum.

“Being named a District for Music Education is a longstanding, great source of pride for the Troy community,” said Troy High Director of Bands Brian Nutting. “From the students to our administration, we are very proud of this, and it shows our support for arts education and beyond.”

Troy Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Education Christine DiPilato called this achievement “an elite designation” and shared her pride in both staff and students for making it possible.

“This designation highlights our community’s commitment to music education,” she wrote in an email. “We know that music enriches our students’ lives, provides a balance to other academic endeavors and serves as inspiration and a creative outlet.  We are a more complete learning community because of our incredible performing arts programs. We are grateful for our community’s continued support and investment in our music programs and look forward to celebrating with you.”

Nutting credited several factors for Troy once again being recognized in this way, but said that the staff working in the district is perhaps the most key component.

“(We are set apart) by the strength of the educators in the classrooms,” he said. “From middle school to the 12th grade (they) provide a very passionate and committed experience for students. We have a very determined team. It aligns with good financial backing for our program and the support we get from administration. We also get great support from parents.”

The National Association of Music Merchants touted the numerous benefits of musical education for students and why having districts support it is so important. This included benefits such as improved conflict resolution, teamwork skills and cognitive development.

“Research into music education continues to demonstrate educational/cognitive and social skill benefits for children who make music,” the association wrote in a press release. “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.”

They added that, later in life, individuals who took music lessons as children show stronger neural processing of sound, and even 50 years later can show enhanced neural processing compared to their peers.

Nutting said that maintaining the district’s level of quality in music education was a challenge during COVID but that staff found creative solutions to continue their students’ musical enrichment.

“We moved through that period of COVID. It did create great challenges. We were preparing for concerts and festivals while practicing together online,” he explained. “It was next to impossible. So, we widened the scope of the curriculum to encompass more theory and history. Conducting was a larger facet we were studying, and comparing pop music and classical music was as well. I think the best part of COVID was being able to explore different ideas.”

The districts honored have to submit a set of statistics and proof of their program and submit to an examination of their curriculum by the National Association of Music Merchants.

“Our district coordinator, Joe Haerilla, had to compile all kinds of stats about the number of student performers in the district and the performance schedule of the district, our participation in festivals and contests and accomplishments such as students entering band contests or solo competitions,” said Nutting. “We had to outline the goals of the department as well. … Based on the feedback I hear from students, I think our work is paying off.”

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