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As I count down our final six performances before the last day of school, I am reminded of the question that Joe posted on the Music Teachers Facebook Group: “How are you going to both relax and keep music in focus over the coming summer?”
This is an excellent question because relaxing should be a priority for the summer. However, some minimal time should be given to keeping ourselves musically motivated, which could vary from taking professional development courses so we can improve our teaching, to picking up our instruments and performing with the local community band. Whatever the choice may be, let me offer some choices of professional development for the traveler and the non-traveler:
Summer Professional Development:
- Central Connecticut State University Summer Music Institute (CCSU SMI): When I first began taking professional development courses over the summer, I went to CCSU. The courses fit my needs and the instructors are top-notch. I liked it so much, I ended up enrolling in the summer Masters program and earned my Masters of Science in Music Education from CCSU. I was honored a few years ago to be asked back to teach courses during the summer. I have taught a variety of courses from SMART Boards in the Elementary Music Classroom-Novice and Advanced to Integrating Technology into the Elementary Music Classroom. This summer I will be teaching iPads in the Elementary Music Classroom. In addition, CCSU has some amazing faculty teaching this summer from Tom Rudolph, Mike Fein, Stefani Langol, Carlotta Parr, Scott Watson, Rodney Winther and many more.
- Villanova Summer Music Studies: Villanova is another popular university to provide professional development to music educators over the summer. I took some of my first music technology courses at Villanova taught by Tom Rudolph. These courses are also top-notch and have an excellent faculty as well.
- The Mike Klinger Music Technology Retreat: I have read about his summer workshop retreats for years and you cannot beat the scenery. It is definitely worth checking out and contacting Mike about his courses and his summer workshops.
- Many of the music curriculums offer summer workshops. An example is Silver Burdett’s newest curriculum, Online Learning Exchange™ Interactive Music powered by Silver Burdett™, offers “Silver Burdett Music Institute” at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. Their institute features some amazing professionals such as Sanna Longden. There are probably workshops offered by McGraw-Hill, Quaver Music, and others that can be accessed through their websites or searching via google.
- What about earning a level in Kodály or Orff or another methodology/philosophy? There have been summers where I have spent two to three weeks earning a level in a methodology or philosophy. It is an amazing experience to immerse yourself into a new musical methodology/philosophy or to earn more levels, because it feels like you are attending an undergrad or graduate level course again. It is a lot of work, however, you gain so much personally and professionally. You come out of it with more resources, more teaching materials, and more knowledge. I learned so much about the Kodály philosophy from attending the three-week summer session at NYU.
There are many other terrific summer programs that occur during the summer. These are just a small few.
Many states hold summer music education conferences. These are usually one to four days. It is a nice way to experience some professional development in a quick road-trip type of way. NJ, NY and TN, just to name a few, hold these types of conferences.
Cannot travel this summer and would like to experience professional development online? There are several opportunities to do so.
- Music Ed Tech: Barb Freedman, Katie Wardrobe and I are holding online courses found at http://musicedtech.com/new-courses/. The courses that are being offered are “Teaching Music with Soundation” and “Logic Pro X for Music Educators” (taught by Barb), “Sibelius: Getting Started the Right Way” (taught by Katie), and “SMART Boards in the Elementary Music Classroom” and “iPads in the Elementary Music Classroom” (taught by Amy). These courses are running from July to August. One can earn credit and experience professional development all from his/her home. It is a very cost-effective way to gain knowledge and resources, plus being taught by three amazing music educators.
- CCSU: Jim Frankel, Director of MusicFirst, is offering a course online through CCSU titled “Teaching Music in the Cloud.” If you have taken courses with Jim, then you know that it will be a great course.
- The Synthesis/M.I.D.I Workshop: Mike Klinger also offers online courses as well as his retreat mentioned above.
- Music Education Motivation Day (musedmot): TI:ME 2014 Teacher of the Year Catie Dwinal will host the annual Musedmot day on Saturday, August 9. #musedmot is a day using the power of social media to regain our motivation and make it through the school year.
There are probably many more summer music workshops offered online. These are ones that I know of or have read about via social media.
As for relaxing, that will happen too this summer. Summer is the time when I can slow down for a few minutes and enjoy my little girls before they grow up. I plan on a lot of day trips with them which usually includes zoos, farms, fairs, parks, and the beach.
I hope that whatever you decide to do with your summer, you are happy and well-rested when you return to your classroom in the fall.
Amy M. Burns is an elementary music educator, clinician, author, and musician. She currently works at Far Hills Country Day School in Far Hills, NJ teaching PreK through Grade 3 general music, grade 5 instrumental music, and grades 4-8 instrumental band. She is the author of Technology Integration in the Elementary Music Classroom, Help! I am an Elementary Music Teacher with a SMART Board, and Help! I am an Elementary Music Teacher with One or more iPads! She is also an author for Online Learning Exchange™ Interactive Music powered by Silver Burdett. She has given numerous presentations on integrating technology into the elementary music classroom as well as being a keynote speaker for music technology conferences in Texas, Indiana, St. Maarten, and Australia. She is the recipient of the 2005 TI:ME Teacher of the Year Award, the 2016 NJ Master Music Teacher Award, the 2016 NJ Governor’s Leader in Arts Education Award, and the 2017 Non-Public School Teacher of the Year Award. You can find out more about Amy at her website: amymburns.com