I used to love attending in-person piano conferences before my kids were born. There was so much to learn and so many people to meet in such a short time. I would always come home inspired with ways to revamp my studio and my teaching.
In recent years, it’s been harder to travel to conferences while juggling a studio and a family. After the holidays I was looking for an online conference to help me break out of the pandemic teaching rut that I seem to be in.
I had heard about Music Ed Connect for several years, and this was my year to try it out.
What Is Music Ed Connect
Music Ed Connect is an all online conference. This year is the 8th year of Music Ed Connect. Many in-person conferences are shifting to a virtual format this year, but Music Ed Connect has always been a virtual conference. The organizers really know what they are doing!
Just like at an in-person conference, Music Ed Connect has a full line up of speakers and presentations that span 3 days. There’s a complete digital exhibit hall with tons of music education products to learn about and explore.
For the 2021 conference, there were 11 live sessions, 6 on-demand, pre-recorded sessions and 12 exhibit showcases.
How Do You Participate In Music Ed Connect
One of the great parts of Music Ed Connect is that you can attend the conference any time.
The live conference took place February 11-13 this year, but participants have access to all of the presentations and material for the rest of the calendar year.
The live conference takes place over Zoom and just like in an in-person conference, there are many opportunities to interact with the other participants.
The organizers of the conference edit each presentation video and make them available on an on-going basis for all of the participants.
If you hope to catch the conference live, you can be on the look out for it in early February each year. But, if you miss the live dates, you can still sign up to watch any presentation on your own schedule.
This feature works really well for me since my teaching schedule is so full. I wasn’t able to catch any of the Thursday presentations live, but I have my eye on a few that I’ll go back and watch.
For the Friday, presentations, I was able to jump in on 1 live presentation on Friday afternoon. On Saturday, it was easier for me to carve out time to participate more fully, so I was able to attend several of the live Saturday sessions.
So far, I have watched these 3 presentations:
- Multi-Age, Multi-Level Ensembles: Jamming with Anyone presented by Lynnette Barney and Valerie Merrell
- Getting Savvy on Social Media presented by Sara Campbell
- We Survived 2020–Now What?: Studio Business Tips to Keep You Going Strong in 2021 presented by Davis Dorrough
These were all top-notch, excellent presentations that gave some immediate inspiration for my studio.
I’m excited to watch a few more sessions soon. Let Me Count the Ways: Exploring Different Counting Methods and How to Adapt Them in Our Teaching presented by Olivia Ellis and Davis Dorrough and Long, Lost and Forgotten: Silent Movie Music for the Piano Studio presented by Penny Lazarus are the next two on my list.
How Much Does Is Cost To Participate
The cost of Music Ed Connect is really reasonable.
To participate live the cost is $159. This includes break out sessions, meet and greets and social opportunities.
However, for $129, you can get access to all of the pre-recorded and playback material from the conference and watch it any time for the rest of the calendar year.
What Do You Get From Music Ed Connect
A Focused One-Stop Shop To Learn About The Latest Piano Pedagogy Topics
I try to make a point to stay on top of piano pedagogy trends, but I notice that when I’m in my weekly whirlwind of a schedule everything online looks like clutter. It can be really hard to take in all of the information that is in front of us on a daily basis.
I find that it’s really helpful to carve out dedicated time to learn and grow. Music Ed Connect makes this really easy. You don’t have to search around the internet to find helpful and up-to-date topics to explore. It’s all in one place and it’s in a format that easy to consume.
An Easy Way To Connect With Other Piano Teachers And Music Experts
I have felt especially isolated from other piano teachers this year as we’ve navigated the pandemic. But, even in normal years, I notice that sometimes I get stuck in my own little world of piano teaching.
It was really refreshing to hear from and interact with piano teachers from all over the world at the live conference.
Networking is definitely encouraged. There is a lot of sharing of email addresses in the Zoom chat.
I’ve already made some really helpful connections, just from watching 3 sessions.
Inspiration That You Can Immediately Bring Into Your Piano Studio
This conference is a really good mix of long-term food for thought and immediate action items that you can take to your lessons.
I tend to be drawn towards practical topics, and within a week of watching the conference sessions, I had already made some big improvements to my online lesson set up.
Sara’s social media presentation is a blueprint for exactly what to post to make your social media endeavors worth your time.
After watching Lynette and Valerie’s presentation on multi-age and multi-level groups, I can’t wait to get back to my group teaching! I learned about so much ensemble music I had no idea existed.
On the other hand, the conference wrapped up with a presentation by Davis Dorrough about taking what we have learned during the pandemic in the future.
It was exactly the positive food for thought that I needed to get excited about the future of piano lessons. I know we’re all anxious to “get back to normal”, but Davis had some great thoughts on how there’s actually probably something better than our old normal to look forward to.
You can click here to sign up for Music Ed Connect.
Remember, you’ll have access to this year’s presentations for the rest of the year. As we approach February, you can also a sign up for the new up-coming live conference.