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Ballard High School Performing Arts Receives National Recognition

We received notice from Ballard High School that they received the SupportMusic Merit Award this year. Congratulations to Ballard High School! Read on for an except from the press release shared by Ballard High School:

The Ballard High School Performing Arts program has been honored with the SupportMusic Merit Award from The NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education. Ballard High was one of 98 schools selected nationwide and is the only school in Washington state to receive the award.

The SupportMusic Merit Award recognizes individual schools that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students.

To qualify for the SupportMusic Merit Award, the music department answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, and support for the music and theatre programs. Responses were verified with school officials and reviewed by The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.

“Participation in music prepares students for a successful trajectory outside the confines of the classroom walls,” says Elizabeth Fortune, Director of Orchestras at Ballard High School. “They not only hone the technical skills of playing an instrument or singing; but they also practice daily the dispositions of critical thinking, creative thinking, growth mindset, collaboration, and communication: the things one needs for successful adulting.”

This award recognizes that Ballard High is leading the way with learning opportunities as outlined in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The legislation guides policy 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.

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 that 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.


Ballard High School. “Ballard High School Peforming Arts Receives National Recognition.” Press Release 1 April 2019