“Summertime and the living is easy…” While this has always been one of my favorite Gershwin songs, I don’t think the lyrics are particularly applicable to music educators. Don’t you love hearing, “But you have summers off!” One of the things we all do during the summer is re-tool, re-train, and re-fuel to meet the needs of our students. Some states also require us to commit to several hours of continuing education. The good news is that in this day of streaming, Zoom, and online classes, we can access many learning opportunities from the comforts of home. Here are a few ideas along these lines that might help make your living easy.
I have taken many online classes and webinars from both major universities and software manufacturers. These offerings have enabled me to up my game in the classroom and meet state standards for continuing education hours. Over the years, the Berklee School of Music has been one of my go-to online experiences. They offer a great depth of subject matter that applies to the classroom, taught by great instructors, and provided through a well-designed interface. You might check out Berklee Online as well as research other institutions that may provide similar offerings.
Local Colleges and Universities
I have also taken (and taught) week-long summer workshops that offer the intense submersion approach with like-minded people in a classroom setting. There is a lot to be said for this kind of experience. However, you are limited by location, time, and money. Look at your local colleges and universities and see if they offer something you need. Sometimes local schools sponsor workshops as well. Check to make sure the class being offered meets your Covid-19 restrictions in light of the pandemic.
NAfME and Local MEAs
It also pays to look at NAfME as they have a professional development link that offers some online training and webinars. In addition, they provide links to other programs and guidelines as to what to look for in professional development coursework. You may also have luck with your local, county, or state Music Education Association offering professional development opportunities in various forms.
One new offering I can recommend is SmartMusic training through SmartMusic Academy. You can access this self-paced online resource anywhere you have a portable device and an internet connection. Several topics regarding SmartMusic are covered in a clear and concise manner, with the ability to repeat and review as you wish. In addition, look for online training webinars to begin in August. There will be several 101 and 201 sessions offered for you to attend alongside a SmartMusic representative demonstrating all the details of the application and best practices for student improvement and assessment.
If you are about to use SmartMusic in your classroom for the first (or even second) time, this is a great way to get your skills to that next level and start the year with confidence. Wow your students with your techno savvy and a refreshed passion for making their musical lives richer.
Need more ideas? Do a web search for “continuing education for music educators” to get a broader sense of what is available.
I wish you all a rejuvenating summer and many rewards in the coming fall. May you all return to healthy classrooms and live performances.