Anaheim Elementary School District’s Music Education Program Receives National Recognition

Press Release:


  • March 26, 2019
  • Contact: Elsa Covarrubias
    Public Information Officer
  • Phone: (714) 517-7513
  • Email:

Anaheim Elementary School District’s Music Education Program Receives National Recognition

Anaheim, CA – March 26, 2019– Anaheim Elementary 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 20th 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, AESD answered detailed questions about funding, 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.

“Our district is extremely proud of this recognition by NAMM as one of the Best Communities for 2019!  The Anaheim Elementary School District has prioritized the support of the Arts as we realize the academic and developmental benefits of music on our students,” shared AESD Superintendent Dr. Chris Downing. “The AESD Board of Education and our community partners (Disney, NAMM, VH1 Save the Music and Yamaha) have led our district to implement a program that is unique on the national level and features general music instruction in grades Transitional Kindergarten thru 4th grade, and instrumental music for 5th and 6th graders, including learning how to play up to six instruments.   This effort was five years in the making and we thank our staff; especially Mark Anderson, Dr. Mary Grace, Maria Villegas and the amazing music teachers for their efforts everyday in bringing music to the Anaheim community.”

This award recognizes that AESD is leading the way with learning opportunities as outlined in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The legislation guides implementation in the states and replaces the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) which was often criticized for an overemphasis on testing-while leaving behind subjects such as music. ESSA recommends music and the arts as important elements of a well-rounded education for all children.

"As music educators, we believe in the power of engaging students through the rich opportunities that a music program can offer,” said Mark Anderson, AESD Music Educator.  “Music is about cooperating and creatively communicating with others in order to achieve a common goal or skill. We are so proud that the music program at Anaheim Elementary provides every student with the opportunity to build upon and discover their musical gifts, enrich their lives, and experience learning from a different perspective."

Anaheim Elementary School District is the only K-6th elementary school district in Orange County to be recognized with the Best Communities for Music Education award; AESD is among only two elementary school districts in the State of California and three in the nation to receive this honor.

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 that 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 that 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 Anaheim Elementary School District

The Anaheim Elementary School district serves more than 16,000 students at 23 campuses in the City of Anaheim, making us the largest elementary school district in Orange County and the second largest in the State of California. We are committed to providing engaging and equitable learning opportunities for all students through our STEAM, Dual Language, and music education programs, which are available from TK through 6th grade. Our award-winning schools, nationally recognized innovative programs, and one-of-a-kind community partnerships make us an educational leader in the region that prepares students for success in the 21st Century.

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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: