Dec 18, 2011

The Midwest Clinic & What Inspired Me

I grew-up in Chicagoland and had the privilege of attending Midwest many times as a high school student, college student, and now music educator.  I continue to live and teach in the area, but haven't attended in about 7 years.  The hiatus gave me a new perspective as I visited just a few days ago.

The amazing thing about Midwest is that it offers the best of the best for music educators from all over the world.  Outstanding educators, clinics, presenters, sessions, and performances is what Midwest is all about.  Oh yeah, and how could I forget Kitty O'Sheas?

I was a younger teacher the last time I was at Midwest.  Looking back, I wasn't a newbie anymore having a few years of teaching under my belt.  But, I was a sponge soaking up all the tips and recommendations from colleagues I ran into and from the sessions I attended.  I was still proving myself as an educator and figuring things out.

When I attended this year, I was energized because this was my first time back in quite a while.  When I first walked into McCormick West, I instantly started thinking about the past Midwest Clinics I attended at the old Hilton Chicago venue.  This year was going to be different.

As I attended the sessions and performances, it was great to pick-up some new teaching tips or validate the good things I already do.  No matter what session I was at though, I couldn't shake the fact that I kept self-reflecting about my own teaching.  For me, this is perhaps the best reason to attend Midwest.  The self-reflecting seemed more powerful because of the 7 years I had not been to Midwest.  Not only how I teach, but why I teach certain things.  Hearing different perspectives from respected educators caused me to ask myself, is what I'm doing best for my kids and the program?  Is there a better way?  The result was a clearer vision of where I want to be as a teacher and how to get there.

Did I not self-reflect when I attended previous years?  I'm sure I did.  But, I think the difference is that I didn't have the years of experience I do now to reflect upon.  I was still learning the craft, where as now I am honing and refining it.  As a younger teacher, Midwest inspired me and helped me form my current teaching ideas and methods.  As a seasoned teacher, the value of self-reflection inspired me at Midwest.

1 comment:

  1. Amen! I found the same inspiration there, and it is so incredibly valuable. I look forward to sitting down over vacation and reflecting on what I do and what I can add from the masters at Midwest.