Central band recognized for excellence in music


Noelle Schwarz, Profiles Editor

On April 18, Naperville Central’s band received the SupportMusic Merit Award (SMMA) which is an opportunity for an individual school to be acknowledged for its commitment to music education — one of 10 schools in the state to garner this recognition. The award was for excellence in teaching on the part of Central band directors and their contribution to the students’ success.

“The schools and districts we recognize this year — both new and repeat honorees — represent a diverse group of urban, rural and suburban districts and demographics,” Mary Luehrsen of the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation said in the press release according to the Chicago Tribune.

“Along with a strong commitment to music education, there are two common traits that each program shares: consistent funding that anchors music education as part of the core curriculum and music programs that are located in communities where music education is viewed as a jewel of the school system,” Luehrsen said.

Music, according to the Chicago Tribune, has numerous benefits for the minds and bodies of those who make it. For high school students, this has many positive implications.

“Research studies continue to demonstrate the physical, cognitive and social benefits of music making,” the Chicago Tribune wrote. “Students who are involved in a school-based music program are not only more likely to graduate high school and attend college, and only a few years of musical training early in life improves how the brain processes sound, even later in life.”

The positives of music-making don’t stop at just academically related improvements.

Social benefits include “conflict resolution, teamwork skills and learning how to give and receive constructive criticism,” the Chicago Tribune stated.

The award was given in recognition of the hard work of all the students involved in Central’s band.

“I think validation goes a long way,” assistant band director Brandon Estes said. “It’s that ah-ha [moment] and whether it’s students that are currently in our program or students within the community just to hear that programs like the band program are being recognized at a national level. It’s giving validation to our students and hopefully motivating them to stick with it.”

This achievement is not the end for Central’s band, but only marks the beginning of the future of the program.

“This isn’t the end-all,” Estes said. “While we absolutely appreciate the recognition this will not start nor will it end with us. This is a recognition of the lineage from elementary school […] all the way up to the middle school of here’s a saxophone, here’s a trumpet, and then now where we’re getting to work with sculpture and mold.  It’s a collective effort and it’s a team effort and we’re very thankful to everyone.”