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The Public Schools of the Tarrytowns Music Education Program Receives National Recognition for the Second Straight Year

The Public Schools of the Tarrytowns demonstrated commitment to music education earned the district the prestigious Best Communities for Music Education designation from The NAMM Foundation.  Now in its 22nd 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, TUFSD 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.

"It is not surprising, but very meaningful that for the second year in a row our community has received this honor.  The support for the Performing Arts in Sleepy Hollow and Tarrytown is incredible,” said Performing Arts Department Chairperson Micah Sprague. “Thank you to all our supporters: students, parents, community members, The Performing Arts Boosters, The Foundation, Faculty members, administrators, and the Board of Education.  As we enter a post-Covid world, it is very important that we come together as a community to make sure the arts stay a central part of our children's lives in our schools and outside our schools."

Veteran Music Teacher Lisa DiNome created a jingle "Nothing But The Best " to begin and end every class.

“This motto has driven our music program throughout the decades with a  department made up of extremely driven and dedicated music educators. As a team, we support and collaborate curriculum goals in the immediate, short and long term for our talented students to succeed in their creative learning paths. Thank you to our administration, foundation, PTA , parents and community for their unending  support.”

Since the passage by Congress in 2015 of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and a stated emphasis on a well-rounded education, many school districts have re-committed to music and arts education programs and found that in this time of a national pandemic, provides a valuable way to keep 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.

“This recognition from the NAMM Foundation showcases the impact our community's involvement has in lifting our already stellar performing arts department to the next level,” said Sleepy Hollow Performing Arts Boosters President Ann Neilsen. “The Sleepy Hollow Performing Arts Boosters are thrilled to know that our parent-run and supported organization has played a part in TUFSD receiving this award.”

Sleepy Hollow High School Junior Virginia Bencosme said involvement with the music department has been the highlight of her high school experience. “Developing my musical skills has taught me lessons on perseverance and courage. Alongside the music teachers, we have grown as musicians and people. But most importantly, we have created a family of musicians, united under our great passion and love of music,” commented Virginia.

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. 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 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