1. REST! Band directors give 100% to their students every day. And a band director’s “summer” is certainly not as long as most people think! Many of us are lucky to get a couple good weeks without work responsibilities. But somehow you have to find a way to rest, relax and recharge. Whether that means exercising more, eating better, turning off your computer for a week, binge watching Netflix, hanging out with your family, or just sleeping a whole lot – DO IT. You’ll need to come back ready to give your students your best for 200 more days. Take a break. Take care of yourself. Rest.
Once you’ve taken care of #1,
add in some of these next ideas as time allows:
2. Improve on a Secondary Instrument – consider these options:
- Practice! 🙂
- Take one-on-one or group private lessons
- Sit in when your students take private lessons to see what is worked on
- Trade with a director who wants lessons from you – in person or through Skype
- Attend a local band camp and sit in (and play along) during sectionals/rehearsals
3. Listen to Great Recordings
Individual instrumentalists, bands, orchestras, choirs, jazz, anything great! Most of us have been listening to beginning or intermediate players all year. Take this chance to “clean your ears” by surrounding yourself with the music of professional artists.
4. Listen to Podcasts
If you’ve never tried listening to podcasts, you’re missing out! You can learn so much about ANYTHING for free. And you can do it while you are driving, working in the yard, cleaning your house, sitting by the pool…
- After Sectionals – 3 successful middle school band directors discuss all things band. They talk band pedagogy, talk smack, and everything in between right after sectionals.
- Crossing The Break – Clarinet specialist and band director discusses the nuts and bolts of teaching clarinet at the beginning and intermediate level.
- Program Notes Podcast– Discusses topics relevant to aspiring and new band directors.
- A Mus Ed (A Music Educators’ Podcast) – 4 music teachers, all in their first 5 years of teaching, discuss current issues in music education; offer resources, tips and tricks; and catalogue their growth and missteps made as young teachers.
- Band Matters – Interviews with great band directors, it is designed to bring great directors, their tips, routines and habits to you in a radio show format.
- Music Ed Mentor Podcast – Guest educators talk about the challenges and solutions that music teachers encounter in their everyday lives
If you know of other great podcasts, please let us know.
5. Talk with a Mentor
Contact a director you respect and want to learn from and take them to lunch. Discuss topics that will help you improve as a teacher and leader next year. Try to set up a consistent time to talk with your mentor during the upcoming school year. If finances allow, invite them to come in and watch you teach for a day so they can give you feedback. See if they would be willing to listen to recordings of your band rehearsal once a month and offer critiques. Encourage them to give you honest (even if painful) feedback so you can improve and help your students improve.
6. Read Books
Summer is a great time to read (or listen to) books to help you become a better director and understand your students better. HERE’S A LIST of books for band directors to get you started.
7. Dig Around on BandDirectorsTalkShop.com
Use the category listing on the right margin (or scroll to the bottom of the screen if you’re on a mobile device) to explore over 200 articles on all different topics. Use THIS PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT DOCUMENTATION SHEET to track your time. BandDirectorsTalkShop.com is not licensed to provide official professional development in any states (this is notated on the form as well) but administrators are often impressed that you are doing ‘self-study.’ You are sure to learn a TON thanks to our amazing 80+ experienced authors who have contributed so many great articles.
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