I Attended the Illinois Music Education Conference

Wednesday night, I packed my bags and headed over to Peoria, Illinois, to attend the Illinois Music Education Conference. I was excited. As a music education major, I could only imagine the fun and adventures I was going to have. From an exhibit hall full of instruments to try, to free samples to take home, to clinics about all things music, I couldn’t wait to attend. Even though I had to work a little harder earlier in the week to finish homework ahead of time before I headed to Peoria, I knew it was going to be worth it.

(If you’re wondering exactly what conference I’ll be talking about, you can find more information here: https://www.ilmea.org/imec/2018imec/)

As Saturday (January 27) comes to a close, it’s time to reflect back on the long (and awesome!) weekend I had at the 2018 Illinois Music Education Conference. Going to a conference devoted to the career area you’re expecting to enter is an experience I recommend to everyone. Even if you’re not a music major, I hope you enjoy reading this blog post because you’ll see the importance of putting yourself out there and making connections in the field in which your major resides. It sounds scary to speak to people you don’t know, but when you’re in a career field where job openings are limited and very competitive, like music education, it’s important to have connections everywhere.

This was my access pass to the conference. On it, you’ll find a pin celebrating the 150th Anniversary of the Illinois Bands, the 150th Anniversary of the University of Illinois, my district sticker (Southern Illinois, represent!), my Illinois attendee sticker, Smith Walbridge attendee sticker, and a big orange collegiate ribbon showing that I am a music teacher to-be!

By far, my favorite clinic of the conference was titled, “Hip-Hop Workshop for Music Educators,” and it was presented by Dr. Kruse. I originally walked into the clinic because Dr. Kruse currently teaches my favorite class of the semester, introduction to music education. With the intent of going to support my professor, I actually came away knowing tons more about the intentions and culture of hip-hop, as well as the importance of knowing the inner workings of a hip-hop beat.

At the conference, I even learned more about how to land a job after graduation. I talked to current directors of bands in my hometown area and even directors across the state to discuss their time as college students. It was really inspiring to hear interview and job search advice from real people who were in my shoes just a few years ago.

A few of my friends and I excited to meet new people and network at IMEC!

During your time at Illinois, look into clubs and organizations that revolve around your major in order to hear about conferences and events you can attend. While I first attended the conference as a high school student, I attended this year with University of Illinois’ National Association for Music Education collegiate chapter. The Illinois Music Education Conference has opened my imagination to all the the classroom activities and designs I hope to incorporate into my future music program. I hope everyone gets the chance to attend an event relevant to what they hope to do as a career and to enjoy that event as much as I enjoyed IMEC!

Until next time, I-L-L!

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