Music Program Receives 'Best' Award

Music Program Receives "Best Community" Award...Again
Posted on 04/04/2019
NAMM Best Community for Music Education

Northbrook District 28 has been honored again with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from The NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education.  The District has received the designation four of the last five years.

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, the district compiled answers for 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.

“This designation is a tribute to a community that places a great deal of value on the importance of music education in their schools,” said Band Director Greg Scapillato, who applied for the award. “This is embedded in the culture of the District 28 schools, and is made possible by an exemplary level of support from students, parents, teachers, administration, the Board of Education, and the extended District 28 community.”

 Junior Band performs at a mid-year concert.

District 28 is one of just 13 districts in Illinois to receive this designation.

“We make sure, from a curriculum standpoint, that music is on par with all other core subject areas.  We look at state and national standards and align our curriculum to those standards,” said Dr. Larry Hewitt, superintendent. “We all have the same big-picture philosophy, namely that music is good for our children’s brains and good for their souls.” 

Research into music education continues to demonstrate educational/cognitive and social skill benefits for children who make music. Everyday listening skills are stronger in musically-trained children than 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.

 Kindergarten students perform for their parents at Meadowbrook.

The instrumental music program has four concert bands, beginning with 4th grade, and five orchestras, beginning in third grade. The choral ensembles begin in 6th grade, and rehearse during lunch periods or before school. The bands and orchestras rehearse as full ensembles before school, in addition to receiving private or semi-private lessons once a week during the school day.  Between the bands, choirs, and orchestras, over 700 students are involved in the performing ensembles in District 28.

In addition, music education is part of every District 28 student’s education, beginning in kindergarten with certified music educators working with students 60 minutes a week. All K-5 students are involved in creating, performing, and responding to music. Kindergarten students perform for their parents, while grades 1-4 perform in the Winter Sings and all 5th grade students participate in annual spring musicals.

The district is also supported by the Music Parents Club, which holds one big fundraiser a year to fund instrumental clinics with professional musicians, purchase uniforms for concert/marching band, and supplement the music instrument inventory.

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

This district has over 700 students who participate in band, orchestra or chorus, and music education begins in kindergarten with 60 minutes a week of instruction with a certified music teacher.