Survey: Professional Development

Mike Lawson • Resources • July 21, 2014

Educators weigh in on the latest trends in professional development


From keeping up with the latest pedagogical trends to becoming eligible for career advancement and increased salary, there are a host of reasons why it is critical to continually engage in activities that will further professional development. Perhaps chief among those, though, is simply to become a better teacher, as indicated by more than two-thirds of the respondents in this recent reader survey.

Curious about where your peers are turning as they continue to build their careers? From training seminars and formal coursework to informal networking and blogging, read on to find out how your peers in music ed are approaching professional development, as well as some commentary on how to fit such endeavors into an already packed schedule.


“Whether it be a graduate course, a workshop, a state or national conference, it is imperative that music educators seek out a wide variety of professional development opportunities. Just as we want to develop lifelong learners, we must model it directly!”

Matt Temple

New Trier High School

Winnetka, Ill.








What’s your secret to juggling professional development with your day-to-day responsibilities?


“Like everything else we do, it takes planning. It also helps a great deal to have a supportive administration.”

James Edwards

Stuart-Hobson Middle School

Washington, D.C.


“Professional development is essential to what we do. We have too much we need to know. I make it a point to make the time to schedule in professional development whenever I can. It’s never convenient, but definitely a necessity in our profession if we are to survive – and not only survive, but thrive!”

Richard Bateman

Mountain Ridge Junior High

Highland, Utah


 “It’s like practicing your instrument – you have to do some everyday and have faith that thoughtful consistency will lead to accomplishment. Isn’t this one of the greatest life skills learned from studying music?”

Christopher Hansen

Spring Creek High School

Spring Creek, Nev.


“Since there are so many scheduling and financial conflicts, I try to read as many articles and books relating to music education and general education as I can. I also follow blogs and discussion boards. I try to take any opportunity to speak with or listen to other music/general educators.”

Megan Meyer

Castleberry ISD

Fort Worth, Texas


Do you have any additional thoughts on professional development and continuing education for music educators?


“Make sure that at the very least, you are involved with your state’s music organization. Don’t be afraid to serve on committees and hold offices within your music division. You will have more impact on the decisions that directly affect your students and your teaching career. As funds and time allow, attend national conferences to gain perspective and to network across state lines.”

Susan Baier

Dorman High School

Roebuck, S.C.


“Continuing education is a must. I learned more about being a band director just from the academic collaborations and professional dialogue with fellow students while working on a master’s degree in person. I know several colleagues completing master’s degrees online, but I think that professional discourse and collaboration is sometimes missing in the online courses. The lively discussions and disagreements in those classes were very valuable in developing philosophy of teaching as well as refining techniques and pedagogy.”

Rick Worley

Central York Middle School

York, Pa.


“I seek the highest examples as that inspires me to become better, stronger, faster, and, more efficient. Our school district is leaning towards heavy implementation of the Common Core. With specific music-related professional development, I have been able to make the connections between what I already do and what the Common Core means to me in my teaching. I was pleasantly surprised to find that what I’m already doing is directly related to the Common Core, and I find that other subject matter teachers are having to scramble more than myself. There is no substitute for experience, and every professional development and continuing education piece has helped form and shape me. As a lifelong learner, I know that the education never stops, and I like it that way.”

Richard Wong

American High School

Fremont, Calif.


“Take advantage of whatever workshops you can. Network with other teachers in your area as much as possible. Collaborate with these teachers – exchange programs, sponsoring a nearby teacher to work with your groups, etc. As budget cuts continue, we as music teachers have to control what we can for our students.”

James Iacketta

Stillwater Middle/High School

Stillwater, N.Y.


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