Professional Development: Life Itself for Music Teachers
Rick D. Townsend
Managing Director of ECMMA
I have fond memories of my first comprehensive introduction to early childhood music and movement. After 25 years of music teaching, I decided to freshen up my teaching skills by participating in a 2-week general music workshop offered by Cindy Taggart. I must have looked a little stunned at the outset, because during the first break, Dr. Taggart walked over to me and quietly asked, “Are you okay?” I was, because my teaching was about to be refocused in ways that I could not have imagined.
Few topics can brighten music teacher conversations more quickly than stories about newly acquired skills or strategies. It is refreshing to realize just how common these stories are among our teachers, and that they are so common because of the continuous and rich landscape of professional development opportunities within our profession. Allow me to highlight three types of professional development events available this coming summer, including comprehensive events, certification events, and local events.
The 2010 ECMMA Convention in Leavenworth, KS, is the ultimate comprehensive event for early childhood music and movement teachers this summer. Comprehensive events include a great breadth of topics, but stay focused narrowly on the needs of the early childhood music and movement (ECMM) community. This summer’s convention, for example, includes workshops about literacy, drumming, Orff, research, online training, listening strategies, storytelling, early childhood piano, and a host of other topics. Continuing Education Units (CEUs) are available for those who require professional development involvement documentation.
Most certification providers offer workshops during the summer months. Certification workshops vary from three days to two weeks in length and offer hands-on training for methodology and its application in the classroom. Detailed information about certification through ECMMA is available online at www.ecmma.org. Additional certifying agencies include (alphabetically): GIML, Kids’ Music Round, Kindermusik, Music Rhapsody, Music Together, and Musikgarten.
Bringing it Home: Local ECMMA Chapters
ECMMA’s area chapters provide professional support on the most intimate level, all of which takes place throughout the year based on the needs and interests of area teachers. Chapter meetings are organized and presented by local teachers for local teachers, but enjoy the full support of the national ECMMA community. Future plans for the ECMMA website include the addition of web pages for chapters, allowing them to announce chapter events and share information online with their members.
Whether seeking comprehensive growth, certification opportunities, or local support, individuals will always find ECMMA to be a good partner, and its members to be supportive colleagues, in the continual efforts to improve teaching for the sake of the children.