January has been a busy month for presentations! This month, I have been in Florida, Michigan, and Illinois.
I love presenting, and I try to bring usable, solid information in an energetic and entertaining way. In particular, I like to keep people laughing. I have attended too many sessions that are too dry and/or do not bring anything of value to participants. Even so, I am sure that some people leave disappointed, or in some cases angry. If that was you, I apologize!
What has been interesting about my trips this month is that I have been traveling without my wife or family, and what I have taken away from my travels this month are new and stronger relationships.
I didn’t really know any music educators in Florida, but I was able to spend a bit of time with Jason from MusicFirst and Don from Sight Reading Factory. While it is nice to get to know the products that a company represents, it is better to get to know them better as people. I believe in both of these companies (and SRF is carried by MusicFirst) and what they are doing–but it is better to get to know the people behind the company.
One of the things that I am finding in my “middle age” is that when I meet people beyond a “surface” encounter, I want to know their story. That is one of the things I like about what we are trying to do on our Podcast.
In Michigan, after seven or eight years of communicating on Twitter, e-mail, and most recently our podcast, I had the pleasure to finally meet and spend time with Paul Shimmons, who blogs at ipadmusiced.wordpress.com. What is both surprising to say and not surprising at all in reality is that meeting in person was like running into a long lost friend. I also had a chance to visit again with Jason (MusicFirst), but also Catie (Quaver Music), and a couple of other Twitter users I have followed over the years.
In Illinois, I had the chance to spend some time with Ryan, a fellow ukulele aficionado (he presented the day before I arrived), and to have dinner with David and Nathan and their families, two teachers that I have interacted with during my previous trips to Illinois. I stayed at Nathan’s house and had a chance to visit with his family–and am so grateful for the conversations and the time we had to spend together. I also had a chance to see Dr. Alex Ruthmann, who works for NYU with the Music Ed Lab and Dr. Robin Giebelhausen, who is a music education professor in New Mexico. Dr. Ruthmann presented some of the wonderful things they are doing at the NYU Music Ed Lab like Groove Pizza, and Dr. Giebelhausen presented a great session on Ukulele and her resources, such as her website and her free iBook.
So while I feel a bit exhausted from my travels over these January weekends, I come home richer from the relationships that were started or strengthened on this trip.
One of the things Paul and I talked about is the world of technology and music education. Music education, by nature, is filled with a lot of ego, jealously, and dog-eat-dog behaviors. The sub-climate of technology in music education is filled with a bunch of passionate music educators who don’t get paid for their work, but instead they just want to give back to the professions. It is really a joy to be involved with all of these people!
Thank you, very much, to everyone who attended any of my sessions this month. I had the chance to present on ukulele, Chomebooks, and iPads. PDFs from those presentations can be found on this website in the Past Presentations area. And as always…if you have questions, new services, new hardware, or new apps, please send me an e-mail!