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Snoqualmie Valley Honored as a 2020 Best Communities for Music Education


The Snoqualmie Valley School District (SVSD) has been honored with the 2020 Best Communities for Music Education designation from The NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education.  The Best Communities for Music Education award recognizes school districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students.  

2020 Best Communities for Music Education


To qualify for this designation, the Snoqualmie Valley School District answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities and support for music programs. Responses were verified and reviewed by The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.


This is the second time SVSD has received this honor from the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM). We also received it in 2018. For a complete list of the 2020 award winners, click here.


“I believe that to make high school an experience that a student finds meaningful, they have to connect with their school. They have to find it relevant, and they have to find a group of kids that will offer the positive pressure to succeed. School has to be fun, has to be something kids are proud of.  It requires staff that have the heart of kids, at the center of what they do. The arts, whether 2-D, 3-D, or performing arts, are a prime example of one way to build a culture of students, that builds a culture of a school and community. Our music program is the hook for a lot of students. It brings a sense of identity, community, and more importantly, a performance-based program build so much confidence. This recognition will continue to help us develop our music program and expand our offerings. Recognition of our program like this, will help in ensuring our entire community knows what those of us working the system has known for a long time, we have a great deal to be proud of in the SVSD,” explained Mount Si High School Principal John Belcher.


“Music education provides learning experiences that no other field of education can. It has taught me how to lead, how to take care of the people around me, and how to listen, both to the music and to people. None of the other 22 classes I’ve taken have been able to teach me those essential life skills,” added a senior student in the Mount Si High School Band program.


According to the NAMM Foundation, 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.


The NAMM Foundation ( is a nonprofit supported by the National Association of Music Merchants and 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.