The Importance of Professional Development
Let’s face it – the term “professional development” sounds boring. It reminds us of long, lonely days at conferences, having to make small talk to people we don’t know, or of spending hours learning songs that we don’t like. But we’re here to reassure you, it doesn’t have to be like that!
There are some fantastic conferences being held for music teachers. Get in touch with your state music teachers’ association, or your instrument-specific association, and make sure you’re on their mailing lists (better yet, become a member). Do your research and you’re guaranteed to find something that piques your interest. You may even be surprised to hear that recently Mr Music Teacher Admin attended a conference and came away more confident in his own technique, with more tools for teaching in his repertoire, with new music teacher friends, and even some additional work as an added bonus! Not that bad after all!
When it comes to your practical skills, while it is important to be continually developing them, there is no need to toil away at pieces or styles of music you hate. Life is too short for bad music. Spend time perfecting your craft with pieces you love. Your enthusiasm will be contagious for your students! One non-music-related activity I would highly recommend is a first aid course. You never know when a student might need assistance. Not only that, these are valuable skills that you will use in all facets of life.
Don’t be afraid to invest time and money in developing yourself as a teacher and performer – you are worth it!