Doesn’t it always seem that the very best moments in life are accompanied by music? Making that life-altering trip down the aisle to Jeremiah Clarke’s Trumpet Voluntary, listening to the crowd roar to life as the marching band plays the Friday night football game or holding your sweet baby in your arms as you hum a soft lullaby?
Music plays a paramount role in our daily lives. I reflected on this recently as my daughter nervously performed for the first time with 300 other 5th grade band members (that’s more than half of the 5th grade class!) and my son rocked the audience with his 8th grade saxophone solo. Music has been an outlet for them, a place to shine, a way to build confidence. It is a critical part of our collective human experience and I am grateful that our district continues to value music education as a key part of the curriculum.
Music educators are pivotal to developing well-rounded, successful students. However, they are often overlooked when it comes to professional development opportunities or have limited educational materials available specifically to them. Take heart, though (insert cheerful trumpeting here!), we’ve pulled together some great resources unique to this audience!
One of the best ways to stay current with the pedagogy of music education is membership in a professional organization like the National Association for Music Education (NAfME). NAfME provides research and support to its members, offers professional development and acts as an advocate for music education. NAfME also holds a biennial conference, an exceptional forum for music teachers, researchers, administrators, program leaders and others to share the latest innovations in music. This year’s event will be held March 22-24 in Atlanta, GA- time to get registered!
Another great way to stay informed is networking with those who share a passion for music at events like The Midwest Clinic, an annual four-day music, band and orchestra conference. This premier gathering in Chicago, IL is the largest of its kind and more than 70 years in the making. All instructional and skill levels are encouraged to attend!
MEAs (Music Educators Associations) are available in most states and exist solely for the benefit of music educators. Many boast resources, curriculum, conferences, webinars, festivals, scholarships and a plethora of helpful information.
Websites like Group Travel Odyssey and Kaleidoscope Adventures are chock full of travel ideas geared directly to music educators who travel with students for workshops, performances, parades, festivals or shows. Travel is an outstanding way to explore music in all its forms.
Finally, don’t discount the power of social media! Sites like smartmusic®, Music Educator Resources, and Mrs. Miracle’s Music Room have superb blogs packed with ideas and information for music educators.
Music provides the soundtrack to our lives, and music educators are the artistic engineers. Just as our 5th grade band director has inspired hundreds of young people to explore an interest in music, there is a symphony of ways to inspire and support the efforts of these key players in our children’s education.