Conservatory Lab Receives National Recognition from the NAMM Foundation

Conservatory Lab Receives NAMM Award


Dorchester, MA – May 23, 2018 – Dorchester’s Conservatory Lab Charter School has been honored with the SupportMusic Merit Award from The NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education.

The SupportMusic Merit Award recognizes individual schools that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students. The NAMM Foundation designated 583 of the nation’s 13,600 school districts this year as Best Communities for Music Education and 135 individual schools as recipients of a SupportMusic Merit Award.

To qualify for the SupportMusic Merit Award, Conservatory Lab 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 with school officials and reviewed by The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.

“Our El Sistema inspired music program is considered an essential part of the fabric our school culture,” said Josue Gonzalez, Director of El Sistema at Conservatory Lab. “It’s the most unifying element that all of our students share and it has been incredible to see the impact it has on our school community over the years. We aspire to continue developing innovative and creative practices that engage our student’s voices while honing their musical skills.”

Gonzalez continued, “we are honored to be recognized by NAMM with the SupportMusic Merit Award. This recognition means so much to our staff, who always put in the extra effort in making sure our students feel loved and are learning at the highest level and also means the world to our community as a whole. We have slowly built this school over the years to be the best it can be for our kids, and this award reminds us that we are on the right track. It will serve as inspiration for us to keep grinding and working hard because we are making a difference in the lives of the families we serve.”

This award recognizes that Conservatory Lab is leading the way with learning opportunities as outlined in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The legislation guides policy implementation in the states and  replaces the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) which was often criticized for an overemphasis on testing – while leaving behind subjects such as music. ESSA recommends music and the arts as important elements of a well-rounded education for all children.

Research into music education continues to demonstrate educational/cognitive and social skill benefits for children who make music. A series of landmark studies by scientists and researchers at Northwestern University found a link between students in community music programs and life-long academic success, including higher high school graduation rates and college attendance. In another study from the University, it was discovered that the benefits of early exposure to music education improves how the brain processes and assimilates sounds, a trait that lasts well into adulthood.

Beyond the Northwestern research, other studies have indicated that music education lays the foundation for individual excellence in group settings, creative problem solving and flexibility in work situations, as well as learning how to give and receive constructive criticism to excel.

A 2015 study supported by The NAMM Foundation, “Striking A Chord,” also outlines the overwhelming desire by teachers and parents for music education opportunities for all children as part of the school curriculum.

Founded in 1999, the Conservatory Lab Charter School aims to empower a diverse range of children as scholars, artists, and leaders through unique and rigorous academic and music education. The school also works to enrich the community in Dorchester and the Greater Boston area through performance, service, and education. Conservatory Lab holds the distinction of being the first public school in the U.S. to adopt the ensemble-focused music program El Sistema into its school day. For more information about Conservatory Lab, please visit

About The NAMM Foundation

The NAMM Foundation is a nonprofit supported in part by the National Association of Music Merchants and its approximately 10,300 members around the world. The foundation advances active participation in music making across the lifespan by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving, and public service programs. For more information about the NAMM Foundation, please visit