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10 Reasons Why Professional Development is Absolutely Necessary for Every Type of Music Teacher

Updated: Jul 4

Teachers cramped in a classroom pd workshop
Is the old format for PD still effective?

"If You're Not Growing, You're Dying" One of my Favorite Music Teachers Used To Say That...


Unlike many types of teachers and professional instructors out there, music teachers can be found in a variety of settings.  Certified school teachers, studio music teachers and freelancers make up the vast majority of music instructional professionals out there.  The curious part is that only one type of music teacher that is teaching young musicians is mandated to attend professional development- those that maintain a certification, usually just those that teach in schools.  


The truth is that private teachers don’t have to be certified to teach children, and may never have had to be, which means that the supervisor can choose to hire a teacher without even a Bachelor’s degree, which leaves the teacher without formal training in instructional methods, without the professional responsibility of protecting students from abusive situations and the training to help them identify that, experience via student teaching, and the responsibility of maintaining that certificate through professional development, before we even look at the higher standards of collegiate training of musical disciplines like theory, history, musicianship and higher performance ability levels!



Music teachers playing musical instruments together
Never too old to be learning more music together!


The Big Issues With Ignoring Professional Development as Music Teachers, In School or the Studio


It’s these features that make even those with a Bachelor’s degree in music stand out as being more quality teachers.  But even then, time has been changing the profession at an alarming rate and music professionals that graduated a decade or longer ago are already behind in the latest of educational methods and trends, especially those that include mental health for minors.  And let’s face it, music teachers may have the same students for several years in a row, building trust and strong rapport with them as being the next most trustworthy adult next to family.  Are today’s teachers and private teachers equipped with what is needed to nurture these relationships, as well as possessing the best instructional practices for the post-COVID education world?  


It is a little frightening to think about.  But there is one aspect that is the solution: professional development.  The private sector does not have to mandate it, but any private teacher should want to continue learning their craft in order to perfect it as closely as possible, which is why certified teachers are mandated to complete so many hours in a period of time (variable by state).  



The main reasons to adopt this mindset, to put it simply, are:


  1. Stay current with the practices that today’s new teachers leaving college are being equipped with

  2. To learn about new music standards as they are revised

  3. To stay current with mental health education as it becomes available, since it is so widely researched now, compared to even a decade or two ago

  4. To gain additional skills in order to be more marketable and simply know more to teach your students

  5. Be able to keep up with educational technology in music as it continues to evolve

  6. It’s a tax write-off for the self-employed

  7. To increase retention of your students, since you have more to give

  8. Because you can be a “traditional” instructor while still being relevant to today’s educational needs

  9. That teachers that become stagnant in their instructional methods show it in their personality, which rubs off on students’ opinions of you

  10. Because knowledge is confidence, and confidence is trust.  Students that trust you respect you enough to practice and have better lesson attendance.


The discussion and list could likely go on, probably as a ripple effect of the above-stated reasons.  But then another problem could arise- where to find suitable professional development for music teachers that is relevant to their needs?

Conferences are really great, but almost always require travel and perhaps time off from what you love to do.  For private teachers, that is quite often loss of income on top of the expenses to attend.  And for those that work with people day in and day out, and just need some quiet time to attend to their needs, a noisy, bustling workshop or convention just may not sound appealing at all.  

A laptop with music software next to an apple
The Future of Music Ed PD


Solutions for Today's Professional Development for Music Teachers


 As instruction of all types moves online, even asynchronously, music teachers would benefit form a platform that gives them this opportunity.  Teachers want to save money, stay in the comfort of their own home and would want to complete any training, mandatory or not, on their own time.  


Uplevel U: Music is exactly that place.  With the ability to issue personalized certificates of completion, private moderated groups for all participants in the course, and on-demand course selection at any time, it’s a dream come true for music teachers.  Over time, the course selection lists will grow to hopefully fit every instructional need for every type of music teacher.  Visit Uplevel U: Music to check your next home for professional growth in music education.





Logos for Music Room and Uplevel U Music with quotes from recent publications

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