- It brings together music teachers from all over the state!
- The best students in IL get to perform and have great experiences.(I was so glad one of mine got this opportunity)
- I get to go clinics where I learn new things and talk about how to improve myself.
- Of course there's also the exhibit hall...can't go wrong with all that cheesecake.
- Best of all it reignites my passions so I get to be the person I want to be.
This past weekend was the conference and it delivered. I was able to do all of these things. I'm tired, but since one of the sessions has resparked my interest in my professional blog I thought I'd spend my Sunday afternoon blogging a little. So here's "How I Spent My All-State Weekend".
My student and I took off from the HS right as first hour was starting. It was nice to get everything ready and then get on the road. It's also nice that we only at 45 minutes from the conference. We listened to some Coltrane to get the vibe going for his audition. Did I mention he was a tenor player? Anyway, we got there with plenty of time to spare. I got him settled for his audition and then went to register.
Awesome Moment #1 - When I returned he was jamming on an Ellington tune with five other kids who were waiting to audition. How cool that this is what they chose to do, a bunch of 17 year olds who had never met, just playing.
After all was said and done I headed off to sessions where I got a text from him saying he was lead tenor All-State Jazz Band. It was the perfect place for him to be as a junior. However, anywhere in the state bands would be an honor. We met up for food after some rehearsal and...
Awesome Moment #2 - Over meals I had a chance to talk with him a lot. I really wish more of my students could have experienced this, but it couldn't have happened to a more humble kid. He got quiet and when I asked what was up he just talk about how the "magnitude" of this whole event was blowing him away. He couldn't believe he was worthy of this. He is.
We had a little bit of hotel drama. There was water damage and we were just weren't in the nicest place anyway. I guess I shouldn't really complain since our school does cover it all. We got back to the hotel around 10:30 and both went right to sleep. It was a great first day.
The second day was more of the same. I went to some great sessions by Milt Allen from EIU. I wonder how EIU would be for graduate work. I had lunch with some other teachers, one the guy I student taught under, the other my predecessor at EPG. It was cool to just talk shop(and other things) with friends.
Awesome Moment #3 - As I left lunch it was cool to reflect on all of the conferences I had attended here. I was able to go as a senior in high school. I went every year of college and then student teaching. Last year I was a teacher with no students and this year with a student. It's been different, but enjoyable in every stage. I'm pretty lucky huh?
That night was the concert. When the students got out of rehearsal we went to dinner, but I sat across the restaurant. Now he had made friends and I wanted to give him space. How cool. We made it over to the concert and I took my seat in a box. I love the box seating in the Civic Center Theatre. I was more nervous than he was, but when he finished his first solo the place went nuts. I can't even imagine how he felt. I'm so glad IMEA gives this opportunity to these kids.
Awesome Moment #4 - Seeing a student that I see everyday successfully soloing on stage at the All-State Conference in front of hundreds.
That night I went out with Ben and Jordan, two of the Galesburg band guys. We sat for a couple hours just talking about students I'd known and everything else you could imagine. I really miss that district. I had a really great experience there, maybe someday I'll be back. Band directors are kind of nomadic aren't they?
The next morning is the reason I am back here blogging away. I went a clinic about this stuff because I'm presenting next month at my school about using blogs as a communication tool. I was shocked that after speaking a little at the end of Mrs. Muench's clinic a few people came up to ask about my blogging specific to being a band director.
Awesome Moment #5 - The IMEA Technology Chair asked me to submit for presenting next year. I was flattered for sure. I thought only experienced teachers and college professors got to do that, but he was for sure I'd have something to offer.
The conference was slowing down. I walked the exhibit hall and saw that my band's new uniforms were being featured at the DeMoulin booth. Again, pretty cool that they thought that highly of my design. After saying some goodbyes, I turned in my CPDU's and walked out.
I think I slept for the next 20 hours, but it was worth it. I am already excited for next year!