Professional Growth, Right From Your Living Room

cup of coffee and hello sticker

By Jessica Peresta

As educators, we are always looking for meaningful resources to use with our students, especially now. But what about ourselves? As the upcoming school year approaches, it is just as important to look for opportunities for our growth. We teach our students to have a growth mindset, and it’s important as teachers that we do the same.  

The question remains, just how do I make the time to do all of that? There are so many amazing professional development opportunities that offer great ideas, but they aren't always easy to get to. Whether you are in the midst of a pandemic or just have a busy schedule, it can be a challenge. That's why I'm recommending the International Music Education Summit. 

Networking On and Offline

Attending in-person events and conferences continues to be important for meeting new people and making new connections. The face-to-face time you get with other teachers has a certain value to it - one that is especially appreciated now! While meeting others at events, you can more easily relate and share your success or talk about what you learned in a session. Plus, all of the fun stuff in between like going out for lunch, or a night on the town.   

Attending online events can also be incredibly valuable - no matter the circumstances. They allow much more freedom, flexibility, and far more reach than you might get a local or regional in-person event. In an online event like the International Music Education Summit, you can connect with other music educators from around the world. 

From my experience working with music educators, I always learn something new from teachers from other countries. It’s so neat to hear about what music education looks like in other parts of the world, and then you can go back and apply what you have learned with your own students.

Another great benefit from online events is that the resources from each session are immediately available and follow-ups can be done quickly. Instead of a stack of business cards and hours of emails, you can join groups and open chat threads on the spot. If you are a presenter or trying to promote your business, you don't need to worry about a booth or any of the logistics involved in physically setting up your event. Phew!

There are benefits to both kinds of events but now is the opportunity to get the most out of online and virtual events. Now is the time to participate, and even help to make them better. That way, when there is a choice, online can be a preferred option, not plan B.

Benefits of Online Events

When you attend an in-person event, there are always costs involved, both financial and personal. Travel expenses are the most obvious, with airfare, hotel room, food expenses, and more. Add to that the time and effort you are putting into it. Rushing to make it to every session, sitting for long hours, all the while looking professional. It can cost thousands of dollars and a lot of energy just to attend a one or two day workshop.  

There are numerous benefits to attending events online:

  • Location. As mentioned in the title of this piece, you can attend the online event right from your own living room.
  • No Dress Code. I’ve attended many online professional development sessions as an attendee in my sweatpants.
  • Comfort. Sit wherever you want. Have back problems? Lay on the floor. Want to eat during a session? Set up in your kitchen. You can also stick to professional mode and stick to your home office. Whatever suits YOU.  
  • Convenience. Attending sessions, follow-ups, note-taking, and additional resources at your fingertips are just a few of the ways that attending an online professional event is more convenient.  

Learn From the Best of the Best

Since the International Music Education Summit is strictly online, world-class presenters show up to teach sessions with a variety of topics. Every presenter comes from a different teaching background and brings a unique worldview to the event.   

What’s great about having so many amazing presenters, is this event can go on for 3 full days. You never get bored, because you get to fully customize your learning experience and only attend the sessions that you’re needing. But also, if there’s a session you wanted to attend, but couldn’t make it to, you get a full year to access the archives to watch them on your own time. 

I get the privilege of presenting a session about Planning for Next School Year: Reflection Based Approach to Creating Your Successes, which is something I’m passionate about. This is exactly what every presenter does as well. They sign up to present a session about what they know, have a passion for sharing with others, and are excited to teach about.  Beth Horton, creative education specialist will also be running a fantastic session: Motivating Practice in the Studio and Classroom. Be sure to check them out!

If you’ve never attended an online professional development opportunity, like the International Music Education Summit, you should definitely try it out.  After attending an online event, and even presenting at one as well, I can tell you that there truly is nothing like it. You won’t regret signing up and will get so much from this online event. You can see the full list of presenters and sessions here, then go ahead and plan your personalized professional development experience.

The International Music Education Summit is a 3-day event put on once a year every summer in June.  At this event, you’ll be given the opportunity to learn from amazing presenters, will receive certificates of professional development hours, and can network with other music teachers from around the world.  You can register for this year's event by heading here.

Jessica Peresta is the online piano teacher and elementary music podcaster at  She’s passionate about music education and loves inspiring others to teach, learn, and thrive as musicians and music teachers.