May is here and the academic year is winding down while your summer plans are heating up. You may be already daydreaming about the beach or your mountain hike and productive goals are popping into your head as well – nurturing a spectacular garden, organizing your home, getting back on your exercise plan, creating new and delicious meals – all essential to helping you recharge for fall.
As your schedule slows down and you make plans to refresh your personal life, have you given thought to revitalizing your vocation through continuing education? Consider taking time this summer to refresh your professional skills. Without a doubt, it will lead to an improved program year starting in the fall.
Here are some reasons why it will be worth it:
Whether you are a music teacher or a church musician, you inspire through music. You cannot continue to impart without being refueled. By attending a conference or workshop, you will not only gain information and motivation from the instructor but you will be stimulated by your fellow attendees. Through them sharing their experiences, you can gain ideas and enthusiasm.
Try Something New
So, you are a veteran teacher who has had years of success and have attended countless conferences. You’ve heard it all! Explore – no doubt there is something you haven’t tried. You will learn something new and better yet, you may be able to transfer those skills to your expertise to better yourself and your students. One of the greatest examples of this is Alan Gilbert, Conductor and Music Director of the New York Philharmonic, suggesting that every conducting student learn how to ring handbells to improve their ictus. Who would have thought!
Learn to Say It Differently
You may be at the top of your game in your discipline and think that you have little to learn. This may be true but you may also be surprised. Your musical skills alone don’t make you a great teacher and director. How you communicate those skills to others makes all the difference! You may have taken countless Conducting classes and know all about gesture but don’t discount going to one more class. It is unearthing when you attend a class and hear something basic said differently and it opens a whole new dimension in your teaching.
You may choose to leave the comforts of home and experience a new environment for vacation. You leave your daily tasks at home and explore the new to revive yourself. Consider traveling to nourish your professional life. Likely, when you are in a different environment, you will be able to “think outside the box” and be more open to new ideas. A true retreat for your vocation!
Whether it is a half-day music reading session an hour from home or a two-week immersion in Europe, consider doing some professional development this summer. There is no knowing what you will reap from the garden of knowledge and music!