Music to our ears: celebrating successful programs in Tennessee

by Todd Shipley, State of the Arts Program Director

In April 2018, the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation recognized 583 school districts and 135 schools nationwide as Best Communities for Music Education. Six Tennessee districts and one school received the prestigious award from the NAMM Foundation. These awards are given to districts and schools that demonstrate exceptionally high commitment and consistent access to music education.

The Tennessee Department of Education congratulates Bartlett City Schools, Clarksville-Montgomery County Schools, Kingsport City Schools, McNairy County Schools, Metro Nashville Public Schools, and Shelby County Schools as recipients of the Best Communities for Music Education award! Congratulations are also in order for Hendersonville High School as the only school in Tennessee to receive the SupportMusic Merit Award!

Research studies continue to demonstrate the physical, cognitive, and social benefits of music and arts education. Students involved in a school-based music program are more likely to graduate high school and attend college. Social benefits include conflict resolution, teamwork skills, and learning how to give and receive constructive criticism

About the NAMM Best Communities for Music Education and SupportMusic Merit Award

In cooperation with the Institute for Educational Research and Public Service (an affiliate of the University of Kansas), NAMM each year selects districts for the Best Communities for Music Education award and individual schools who receive the SupportMusic Merit Award. Now in its 19th year, the awards program recognizes the outstanding efforts of teachers, administrators, parents, students, and community leaders who have made music education part of the curriculum. Schools and districts are evaluated based on funding, staffing of highly qualified teachers, and commitment to standards and access to music instruction. For more information about the NAMM Foundation and BCME program, visit

For more information about the Tennessee Department of Education and the State of the Arts initiative, including upcoming grant opportunities, visit