Best Community for Music Education Logo

The NAMM Foundation has once again honored Chatham Central School District with a Best Communities for Music Education designation. The BCME recognizes Chatham for its outstanding commitment to providing music access and education to all students.

“Our unwavering commitment is steadfast in embracing and rewarding educators, administrators, parents and community leaders who applaud and support comprehensive music instruction as a fundamental part of core learning opportunities,” said John Mlynczak, NAMM president and CEO, in a release that accompanied the award. “These leaders offer an extraordinary model of teaching that ignites a foundation of success we can all honor and celebrate.”

Chatham CSD has a longstanding commitment to music and the arts as part of its education program. 2024 marks the ninth year that The NAMM Foundation has recognized Chatham as a BCME. To qualify, the District provided detailed information on funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program, and community music-making programs, which was verified with school officials and reviewed by The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.

The District offers band, orchestra, chorus, and musical theater programs at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. The music program enjoys a high level of student participation as well as support from parent and community groups such as the Chatham Fine Arts Booster Club and Chatham Education Foundation, among others. Outside of school, the greater community offers abundant opportunities to learn, perform, and hear live music as well. 

Research into music education continues to demonstrate the educational/cognitive and social skill benefits for children who make music. Studies show substantial improvements in how the brain processes speech and reading, and that students who are involved in music are not only more likely to graduate high school, but also to attend college. Everyday listening skills are also strong in musically trained children, skills that 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 continue to show strong neural processing of sound. Social benefits include conflict resolution, teamwork skills, and the ability 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 10,300 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