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GFS Receives SupportMusic Merit Award from The NAMM Foundation

Germantown Friends School has been honored with the 2024 SupportMusic Merit Award, an annual commendation given by The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation to schools that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to music education. The 2024 SupportMusic Merit Award was given to 122 schools across the country; GFS was one of just three Philadelphia-area recipients. This is the second year in a row that GFS has garnered NAMM’s recognition for our unwavering dedication to providing music access and education to all students. 

“At GFS, we approach music as an important part of students’ development, not just as musicians, but as people,” says Brian Bersh, Music Department Head. 

Bersh notes that, at a time when many schools and school districts are cutting music programming and funding, GFS steadfastly continues its commitment to music education and instruction. That commitment is exemplified in many ways: the depth and breadth of the music curriculum; the number of talented faculty on staff; the budget and non-tuition student aid available for instruction and resources for students; and music as a graduation requirement. Germantown and its surrounding neighborhoods also provide varied music opportunities for GFS students to participate in.

“The NAMM Award is a reflection of all the pieces of the puzzle that come together to truly support excellent and equitable experiences in music,” Bersh says. “The award doesn't come down to any one person, or even one department, but is really about the value that our students, parents, educators, administration, and community place on music.”

The GFS Music Department is an integral part of the fabric of school, beginning with our youngest learners and extending through Upper School. There are numerous ways for students to engage with music, from formal performances, like A Cappella Fest, Jazz Night, and EC’s Spring Music Performance, to songwriting and composition classes, to private lesson instruction, to student-organized open mic coffee houses. 

“We strive to create opportunities for students to exercise their agency and creativity throughout their music experience,” Bersh explains. “There’s a real effort at GFS to engage with our students as partners in music-making and music reflection, recognizing that our process and dialogue can be richer because of our diversity, and because we all have something unique and important to contribute."