Best Communities for Music Education

The Best Communities for Music Education survey acknowledges schools and districts across the United States for their commitment to and support of music education.

Best Communities for Music Education Survey program

Save the Date–Survey Opens October 26

The NAMM Foundation's Best Communities for Music Education award program recognizes and celebrates schools and districts for their support and commitment to music education as part of a well-rounded education.  Get the national recognition your music program deserves and apply to be considered.

What is the Best Communities for Music Education (BCME) Award Program?

The Best Communities for Music Education (BCME) Award is a signature program of The NAMM Foundation that recognizes and celebrates school districts and schools for their support and commitment to music education and efforts to assure access to music for all students as part of a well-rounded education.

The survey was developed in partnership with the Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas. Survey questions are aligned with goals for equity and access to music education for all students, and also with national standards for music education. This survey seeks to support communities everywhere that are working to assure music education opportunities for all students.

Why Participate

  • National Recognition
  • Community Recognition and community pride
  • Increased Visibility of music education in your district, school, and community
  • Program Validation of your school or district's support for music education
  • Program Auditing tool for auditing your music program


  • School districts in the U.S. with a K-12 music education program
  • Individual schools, public, private, charter, parochial, in the U.S. with a music education program
  • One application per school or district
  • All surveys must be submitted by the January 31, 2022 deadline


The following information is required to complete the survey.  

  • Student demographics
  • Teacher/student ratio
  • Music education participation rates
  • Music education and/or fine arts requirements for graduation or as required by the curriculum
  • knowledge of music education electives
  • Teacher qualifications
  • Standards for assessing music education 
  • Music facilities
  • Budget


Below are samples of the 2021 BCME and SMMA surveys for your review.



When in the application period?

The application period opens in mid-October and closes on January 31.  We encourage you to sign up to receive our newsletter to receive updates.

What is the difference between the Best Communities for Music Education and the SupportMusic Merit award?

The BCME award is for a district that serves students across grade levels and multiple schools.

The SupportMusic Merit (SMMA) award is for an individual school to be acknowledged. It is a “school-only” distinction and can be a charter, private and parochial school seeking the designation.

Can I win both the BCME and the SMMA designation?

No, there is no advantage to completing both the BCME and SMMA surveys. You must apply on behalf of your school or district. If your school is part of a district, we suggest you work with the district to be considered for a BCME award. If you represent an individual school, please complete the SMMA application.

Will multiple applications for my district or school be considered?

No. Only the first application per district or school will be considered so please coordinate with the other administrators. We strongly encourage you to work together to complete this survey.

What are the criteria for selection?

The survey gauges funding, participation, opportunity, standards, community, facilities and other factors that affect access to comprehensive music education.

How long does it take to complete the survey?

Due to detailed questions, participants should allow approximately 30-45 minutes.

Who should complete the survey?

A qualified district representative should complete the survey due to the very specific information requested. A district administrator should gather and complete the survey on behalf of the district or school or should work in partnership with the music educator or fine arts supervisor.

Contact The NAMM Foundation at

Congratulations to The 2021 Winners!

Congratulations to the 686 school districts that received the Best Communities for Music Education (BCME) Award and the 80 individual schools that received a SupportMusic Merit (SMMA) Award as part of the BCME program.  The NAMM Foundation celebrates and recognizes the innovative and resourceful music education programs in the United States and the communities that support them. And thank you to all the districts and schools that participated. Read the entire release.



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