Music Leader Exchange 2: Professional Development during COVID-19

Tue 9 March 2021

This Music Leader Exchange session was an open discussion facilitated by two of the newest members of the MAC Makes Music team, Alex Lowe and Liz Birch. At the beginning of lockdown they were Emerging Music Leaders, but over the year they have become Music Leaders in their own right. This session was an opportunity to look at the things that have helped professional development at a time that seemed like the world had come to a standstill.

These notes are a culmination of all participants’ ideas from the session.

What have you discovered ‘accidentally’ from having to work differently during the pandemic?

Explore - The benefits of technology to aid creativity and make music more accessible – including online instruments, drum machines and various apps.

  • One Note drum machine
  • Soundtrap – for Zoom recording
  • Virtual Choir Recorder
  • Soundslice – for isolating vocal parts and helping singers practice on their own

Observe - Working online has made it easier to visit other sessions, observe things in practice and share ideas.

Communicate – Embrace this time of experimentation and don’t be afraid to try new things. Chat regularly to colleagues about their experiences and allow yourself to discover what works well and what doesn’t.

How has your reflective practice changed because of the pandemic?

  • Less time to travel means more time to reflect
  • Reflection happens immediately after a session which is when thoughts are fresher in your mind
  • More often feeling out of your comfort zone so remind yourself of something you’ve learned after every session
  • Highlighted the importance of checking your own and your students’ wellbeing

What will you carry forward after the pandemic?

  • Take a blended online/offline approach
  • Put more emphasis on wellbeing
  • Music Leaders are also learners. Be inquisitive and have fun with the things you don’t know. Set each other challenges because we’re all on a level playing field.

It's easy to feel lost at a time of such uncertainty, but you've just come through a really tough time, so remind yourselves of the positive steps you've taken, and keep going!