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Santa Monica-Malibu School District Ranked Among Nation's Top Communities for Music  
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By Lookout Staff

April 26, 2017 -- The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD)was one of two school districts in Los Angeles County to be recognized as one of the nation's best communities for music, district officials announced Tuesday.

The “Best Communities for Music Education” designation from the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation is awarded to districts that "demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students," district officials said.

“This award recognizes the outstanding efforts by teachers, administrators, parents, students and community leaders who work together to ensure access to music learning for all students as part of the school curriculum,” said Superintendent Dr. Ben Drati.

“We would not have received this recognition without the hard work and dedication of many people providing equity and access to all our students.”

SMMUSD was one of 526 districts nationwide to receive the prestigious award in 2017, officials said.

To qualify for the designation, the district answered detailed questions about "funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program and community music-making programs," officials said.

Responses were verified with school officials and reviewed by The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.

Community music programs have drawn increased attention after a landmark study by Northwestern University brain scientists found that students participating in such programs improved in subjects such as reading, officials said.

"Beyond the Northwestern study, other reports indicate that learning to play music can boost academic and social skills, such as processing math and learning to cooperate in group settings," district officials said.

“Striking A Chord,” a 2015 study supported by the NAMM Foundation, "outlines the overwhelming desire by teachers and parents for music education opportunities for all children as part of the school curriculum," officials said.

Many of SMMUSD's visual and performing arts programs receive critical funding from the Santa Monica-Malibu Education Foundation (SMMEF).

To learn more about the foundation or donate to support arts in all SMMUSD schools visit

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