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Best Communities for Music Education

A music student and teacher play violinsOn a happy note, for the 20th time since 2000 and the 11th consecutive year, the State College Area School District has received one of the Best Communities for Music Education in America designations from the National Association of Music Merchants.


The SCASD music program provides music education to all students. General music, the program’s foundation, is a mandatory class for all students from kindergarten to eighth grade. Middle school General Music is a team subject and provides hands-on and creative music education for all students. In high school, elective general music classes include Guitar 1 and 2, Music Theory and AP Music Theory, as well as adaptive general music, when appropriate. 


Bands, choirs and orchestras exist in grades 4-12. State College Area High School has nine bands (concert, jazz, rock, symphonic and marching bands), eight choirs (concert, advanced, chamber and a cappella) and four orchestras (string, symphonic, advanced and chamber). These ensembles consist of grade-level groups, audition and non-audition groups, and extra-curricular groups. The middle schools also have grade-level, non-audition ensembles that meet in the school day, as well as co-curricular ensembles.


A student plays an instrument“I’m very proud of our school district, the music program, the music teachers, and the community who all value music education. These groups continue to work together to expand equitable and accessible music opportunities in SCASD,” said Park Forest Middle School choir and music teacher Molly McAninch, the SCASD K-12 music coordinator. “There are 27 music teachers in the district who successfully work towards our vision that all students should be music empowered and should value music as part of a comprehensive education and as an essential expression of the human experience. We want students to become lifelong patrons and practitioners of music through creativity, critical thinking, music literacy, and aesthetic awareness.”


By Chris Rosenblum

Photos by Nabil K. Mark

Published April 10, 2024

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