LPS designated 'Best Communities for Music Education' for seventh year

Lincoln Public Schools has been honored for the seventh time with the prestigious designation of Best Communities for Music Education, bestowed by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation.

The honor recognizes outstanding commitment to music education – from the schools as well as the entire community – and is awarded to school districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students. 

“This award reflects the hard work our music educators and students do every day to learn and develop a life-long appreciation of music making,” said Lance Nielsen, supervisor of Music at LPS.  “It reflects the creativity, innovative ideas and expanding curriculum that allows us to provide musical experiences to all students.  We not only have wonderful choirs, bands, orchestras, show choirs and jazz bands, but we provide instruction on guitar, world drumming, music technology and recording.”

He noted LPS is one of the only school districts in the country that supports a youth symphony, the Lincoln Youth Symphony – as well as the All-City Girls Choir, the steel drum band PANgea, and the mariachi group, Los Mariachis de los Ciudad Estrella.

“We also encourage students to create their own music,” Nielsen continued.  “We have a Young Composers Showcase that we host each spring in which students share the original music they have composed – then the students are mentored by composers from our area.”  

To qualify for the Best Communities designation, LPS answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program and community music-making programs.

“Music is an essential component to the education of the whole child,” Nielsen said, noting that the city of Lincoln understands that significance. “Our community values the arts because it enriches people's lives. It makes our community stronger both economically and artistically.” 

The Best Communities for Music Education Award is not just about pride in LPS, this is something for all of Lincoln to celebrate, Nielsen stressed.  “This recognition is not just reflective of the excellent work happening in our schools by our very talented music educators and students, but it is also reflective of the support we receive from the Lincoln community – a place that embraces and cherishes the arts and arts education. The Best Communities designation is a celebration for all of us.”

Nielsen explained that the many musical connections in Lincoln reinforce and expand the school district’s capacity to provide a breadth of musical experiences for LPS students.  “The support by the Lincoln community for music and all of the arts is what makes Lincoln a special place.”  

The community collaborations are vast, he said: “The Lincoln's Symphony Orchestra providing the Young People's Concert with our fourth graders, Abendmusik inviting our students to be a part of performances, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Glenn Korff School of Music with the String Project and masterclasses, the unique music events offered to students by Nebraska Wesleyan University, Doane University and Union College.”

The NAMM Foundation is a nonprofit supported in part by the National Association of Music Merchants and its approximately 10,300 members. The Foundation advances active participation in music-making across the lifespan by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving and public service programs.

The NAMM Foundation continues to point to research into music education that demonstrates educational/cognitive and social skill benefits for children who make music:

  • After two years of music education, students show more substantial improvements in how the brain processes speech and reading scores.
  • Students who are involved in music are not only more likely to graduate high school, but also to attend college.
  • Everyday listening skills are stronger in musically trained children.
  • Later in life, individuals who take music lessons as children show stronger neural processing of sound.

For more information about The NAMM Foundation, please visit www.nammfoundation.org.

Published: April 26, 2022, Updated: April 26, 2022

“This award reflects the hard work our music educators and students do every day to learn and develop a life-long appreciation of music making."

Lance Nielsen, supervisor of Music at LPS