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Ector County ISD’s music education program receives national recognition

For the sixth year in a row Ector County ISD 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 21st 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, ECISD answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, and support for the music programs. Responses were verified with school officials and reviewed by The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.

“This is a testament to all of the excellent work that we do in the Fine Arts each day in our District,” said ECISD Director of Fine Arts Aaron Hawley. “A special thank you to all of our teachers, students, parents, community members, and administrators for their constant support of the music education of our ECISD students.”

ECISD introduces music education, taught by a music specialist, in Pre-kindergarten and kindergarten. As students progress they have access to a wide variety of instruments and experiences, contests and competitions, and perform in front of an audience each year. Fine Arts for Kids, Midland Odessa Symphony Chorale, special events and guest residencies are just a few examples of opportunities for kids to participate in music education outside of the school day.

“The directors and ensembles of Ector County ISD have a long tradition of helping set the standard for musical excellence in our state,” added Hawley. “Odessa is proud of the successes of our music programs through these many years, and strongly supports performances by attending and cheering for the student groups and by financially enabling these groups to participate at the highest levels.”

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 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. 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.

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. For more information about the NAMM Foundation, please visit