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.

2021 Best Communities for Music Education program

Application Period (Late Oct.-Jan 31)

Now in its 22nd year, The NAMM Foundation will continue the Best Communities for Music Education program, although as a revised “special edition” to reflect current realities.  We want this year to reflect the ongoing commitment of your community to support music education as a vital part of a well-rounded education for all children.  Awards will also recognize innovation music learning and the vital connections music education is providing.

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

The NAMM Foundation's Best Communities for Music Education (BCME) 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 Institue 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


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

The BCME award is for a district to be acknowledged 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 survey. 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

Promotional Toolkit

Spread the news! To help you with your award promotion, we are providing materials that you may use to raise the visibility of your music education program and to celebrate this important designation by The NAMM Foundation. If your district or school has a Public Information Officer/Communications department, please share this kit with the appropriate contact. The information in this promotional toolkit help awarded districts and schools spread the good news about this national recognition and raise the visibility of their music education offerings.

Best Communities for Music Education Promotional Toolkit image