Los Fresnos CISD receives music education national


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Los Fresnos High School Jazz Band I lead trombone player Victor Ruiz, left, and lead trumpet player Elaina Garza play their instruments inside LFHS Band Hall after multiple jazz championships including their most recent win, the grand championship of the 2023 Rio Grande Valley Jazz Festival in Port Isabel. (Miguel Roberts/The Brownsville Herald)

Los Fresnos CISD has been awarded the Best Communities for Music Education designation from The NAMM Foundation for its commitment to music education.

Now in its 24th 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, the district stated in a news release.

To qualify for the Best Communities designation, Los Fresnos CISD answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program and community music-making programs. Responses were verified by school officials and reviewed by The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas, the release stated.

“Music education is important for our district because it provides a safe place for our students to express themselves, take risks, and collaborate with others,” said Andy Salois, director of music and head band Director for Los Fresnos CISD. “Music students learn more than notes. They learn to create, innovate, analyze, and collaborate all while building awareness of diversity and appreciation for our own and other’s cultures,” Salois said.

Since the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act in 2015 and a stated emphasis on a well-rounded education, many school districts have re-committed to music and arts education programs. During the pandemic, music and arts programs were a vital component to keeping students engaged in school. ESSA provides designated funding for well-rounded educational opportunities through Title IV Part A Student Academic Success and Achievement grants. NAMM Foundation research has revealed that these grants are being widely used by school districts to address instructional gaps in access to music and arts education.

“The Los Fresnos CISD staff demonstrate a clear understanding of the importance of providing a well-rounded educational experience. An appreciation of the arts is instilled in our students beginning at the elementary level. The love of the arts is nurtured as they progress through the continuum of the academic experience and celebrated along the way by our entire community. I continue to be impressed by our teachers’ ability to draw out the talent in our students and their ability to help them reach their full potential,” said Gonzalo Salazar, Los Fresnos CISD superintendent of schools.

Research into music education continues to demonstrate educational/cognitive and social skill benefits for children who make music: After two years of music education, researchers found that participants showed more substantial improvements in how the brain processes speech and reading scores than 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. In addition, 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.


LFHS Jazz Band I wins trio of grand championships

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