Canon-McMillan School District’s Music Education Program Receives National Recognition for a Second Year in a Row

Pictured: Best Communities for Music Education logo
Posted On: Monday, April 24, 2023


Canonsburg, PA – April 2023 – Canon-McMillan 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, 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. 

To qualify for the Best Communities designation, Canon-McMillan 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.

Assistant to the Superintendent for K-6 Dr. Greg Taranto recognizes that music education is important in providing whole child education,

Having now received the NAMM Award two years in a row speaks volumes about how our school community values music education. It is an essential component in the development of providing a whole child education.  Congratulations to our music faculty, principals, students, parents and the school board for supporting music education in our schools!"”

“This recognition is a reflection of what we have always known within the Canon-McMillan school community and that is that we have an award winning music program. This is a direct reflection of the hard work and dedication of our music faculty and student musicians. Thank you to the NAMMs foundation for recognizing and honoring our commitment to music education.” Assistant to the Superintendent for 7-12 Mr. Crowley shared.

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 a vital component to keeping students engaged in school. ESSA provides designated funding for well-rounded educational opportunities through Title IV Part A Student Academic Success and Achievement grants. 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. 

“Music education is incredibly important to the students and community of Canon-McMillan. Our entire K-12 Music Department believes that music is an essential part of educating the whole child which develops the child’s imagination to ensure that they reach their fullest potential. Music education in Canon-McMillan can greatly contribute to our children’s intellectual, emotional, and creative thinking development. As America’s Small Town Music Capital, we are honored to receive this designation from NAMM for a second consecutive year.” said Deanna Grandstaff, Canon-McMillan School District Music Department Head K-6

Research into music education continues to demonstrate educational/cognitive and social skill benefits for children who make music: 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. In addition, 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. 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. 

About The NAMM Foundation

The NAMM Foundation is a nonprofit supported in part by the National Association of Music Merchants and its 15,000 member companies and individual professionals. 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

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