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Friday -- 7:45 a.m. - 2:15 p.m.
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Darien Public Schools Press Release
Darien’s Music Education Program Receives National Recognition
Darien, CT – 5/6/2021 – Darien has been honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation by The NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education. Now in its 22nd year, the Best Communities for Music Education designation is awarded to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in providing access to music education for all students.
To qualify for the Best Communities designation, Darien’s Director of Music, Colleen Thompson, 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.
Darien is one of 23 districts in the state to be recognized as one of the Best Communities for Music Education. This is the first time Darien has received this designation.
Superintendent Dr. Alan Addley commented, “Receiving this District-wide recognition for music is a testament to the importance of an arts education in Darien. Particularly in this challenging year, it is a fitting tribute to the wonderful work of our music teaching staff, our talented students and the community’s support for the Arts.”
“We are incredibly proud to receive this recognition,” said Colleen Thompson, Darien’s Director of Music. “Teachers have worked diligently to continue offering high-quality music experiences for students, whether online, hybrid, or in-person.”
Music teachers and administrators in Darien worked together to modify music instruction to comply with social distancing and gathering guidelines. Safety mitigation requirements for singing and playing instruments required the reimagination of instructional delivery. Some classes were moved to larger spaces, rehearsals were held outdoors, students sang with masks and played with covers on instruments, and most large group rehearsals and performances were moved completely online.
Even though there were great challenges teaching music during this school year, one thing that remained constant was the unwavering support of the Darien community. Thompson also offered -- “We are grateful to the District and community for providing us with the resources we need to continue delivering meaningful instruction and presenting concerts and programs.” In addition to the operating budget, the music department received support from parent organizations and the non-profit Darien Music for Youth, providing opportunities to bring in guest artists over Zoom as well as support the District Music Curricular Theme.
Perhaps the most meaningful to teachers are the words of support from parents and students. “Through parent emails, I’ve received many letters of support for what we are doing in our school in spite of all the setbacks and restrictions,” said Jim Carter, band teacher at Middlesex Middle School.
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.