Your Online Summer Event Calendar

Mike Lawson • MusicEd: Mentor Minute • April 30, 2020

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Your favorite summertime professional development event has been cancelled. Now what? You were counting on those PD credits for re-licensure, and the event for some fun connecting with like-minded music educators.

Not to worry! Some of your favorite PD events are moving online. Some people may scoff at the idea of an online event providing you with many of the same experiences as you would have with an in-person event, and they aren’t entirely wrong; there is no way to have an in-person conference experience online.

On the other hand, there are many advantages to attending online events. If they’re done right, it means you can have even closer access to your favorite presenters. You can still network with the other attendees, but you aren’t limited in their geographical location. You may attend a virtual event with people from another state, or another country. You won’t be taking home dozens of fliers, you’ll be collecting useful downloads.

You won’t be collecting candy and trinkets from expo exhibitors, you’ll be collecting free trials, books, and scores. And you won’t be paying hundreds of dollars in travel expenses, you’ll be in the comfort of your home.

Many of the upcoming online conferences will even have the live sessions recorded and made available to you to watch on-demand afterward. This means that during the event, you don’t have to choose which sessions you miss – instead, you choose which ones you attend live and which ones you watch later. No, it’s not the same, but it could easily be a much higher value investment of your professional development time and resources. Here are three events you may consider investing in for the credits, and the camaraderie.

Conn-Selmer Institute (CSI) Connect | June 8-9

CSI has always brought you some of your favorite band and orchestra presenters – Dr. Tim Lautzenheiser, Frank Troyka, Richard Saucedo, Paula Crider – and this year is no exception. They’ve shortened CSI to a two-day whirlwind of encouragement and inspiration, with five tracks to choose from: new teacher, band, orchestra, collegiate, and administration. You can learn more at Use the code CSIC2020SBO when you register for a special discount just for being an SBO reader.

International Music Education Summit (IMES) | June 11-13

Unlike other conferences that are just converting to online, the IMES has always been held virtually. This year you will have more than 84 live sessions to choose from, taught by presenters from across five continents. With topics ranging from implementing social-emotional learning in your classroom, to STOMP-style drumming, to the newest online music learning platforms, there’s something for every music educator. You can learn more, and see a full list of sessions and meet the more than 70 presenters at Use the code SBO2020 when you register for a special discount for being an SBO reader.

Wind Band Conductor and Educator Virtual Summit | July 14-16

Come together with your fellow wind band conductors to learn from some of the greats in our field. You’ll spend these three days learning score study, conducting techniques, philosophy, and advocacy. You also have the option of having a 30-minute private conducting lesson with one of six workshop faculty. Order your own copies of each score to study and markup for your collection. You can learn more at

Bonus: Opera for Your Students (and you!)

One of my favorite memories as an 8th grade horn player was attending a performance of the local opera. My band teacher took us – a field trip, remember those! – and we watched L’Italiana in Algeri. I had to read the subtitles and I loved every moment of it. Our students at home can partake of the world-class Metropolitan Opera, with livestream showcases, office hours to discuss resources, and visits with some of the artists. Learn more at

No, we may not be able to enjoy our in-person events, but we can make the best of the situation with these live, online events for band and orchestra directors worldwide.

An experienced K8 music educator, Elisa Janson Jones specializes in helping music educators build, manage, and grow thriving school music programs and have long and happy careers. She holds a bachelor of music, a master of business administration, and is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Education in Instructional Design. Elisa uses her vast and diverse skillset to help nonprofits, businesses, and music educators around the world. She serves as conductor of her local community band, a columnist for SBO Magazine, and maintains a private lesson studio. Elisa is a nationally- recognized speaker, the host and producer of the Music Ed Mentor Podcast, founder of the International Music Education Summit, and author of The Music Educator’s Guide to Thrive.

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