Are you attending a conference or exhibition soon? With the yearly Music and Drama Education Expo and Curious LIVE all taking place this week (and the MTNA conference in America not far away) there’s a good chance that you will be! conference Here’s a few tips to help you make the most of the days.


There’s a good chance that, like me, you have had to re-arrange your teaching next week if you are off to any of the events. It’s good for parents and pupils to know and understand that you are still learning too! So why not take the opportunity to write about the conference either in a newsletter or a blog both before and after the event. Before the event you could write about what you are want to get out of the day, speakers that you are looking forward to hearing and why going to the event is important for you as a teacher. After the event you could pass on some of the day’s highlights and outline how this is going to impact your teaching. For example you might be empowered to tackle parents about their busy children when you go to Samantha Coates’ session on The Overscheduled Child (Thursday at 11.15 in the Seminar Theatre).


There’s lots of choice at the MDEE so you’ll be wise to plan your day well in advance. Have a good look at the programme and decide what are the main sessions you want to attend. As well as going for the obvious I recommend choosing at least one session that might seem a little out of your comfort zone or even not relevant for example If it’s your first time at the show be warned that some sessions are very, very popular. Think overflowing so if you really want to get in you might want to get there early – really early. For example, I can imagine this being the case for Are your students actually learning? with Paul Harris (Thursday at 10.15 in the Rhinegold Theatre).


One of the prime reasons for attending a live event is meet people, whether this is old friends or new acquaintances. Sharon and I woud love you to come along and say ‘hello’. We’re on F5 and you’ll be able to enter our Prize Draw to win a copy of Let’s Play. There’s coffee and cake available and Ed, our curious elephant will also be around. What’s more our good friends at the Piano Teachers’ Course are right opposite so we guarantee there’ll be a bit of a piano party going on! It always good to network at any conference so make sure you have a good stack of business cards to hand. If you are a private instrumental teacher you do have a business so think about how you could summarise what you do into one short, concise sentence – it’s not easy but worth the thought and effort!


It might seem a little obvious but make sure that you have everything with you. Is your phone fully charged and do you have lots of memory available? You’ll need space for those photos that will illustrate your blog or newsletter. There’s lots of trade stands there with tons of music. Have a think before you come about your pupils and what music they are likely to need over the next few months. Alternatively set a budget and stick to it! There’s bound to be lots of offers so it’s worth planning ahead.


Whether it’s the MDEE or Curious Live you’ve got to make sure that you look after yourself. They are both going to be fairly full on days and could easily feel a little overwhelming. So find time for yourself. Maybe you could find a quiet corner and sit down to take stock. Or maybe you need to get outside into a different environment – there’s a couple of nice coffee shops close to Olympia. If you’re coming to Curious Live in Oxford the River Thames is just a few minutes stroll away. So whatever event you are going to attend this week or in the future make it count. Give yourself the space and time to absorb the new ideas that will come your way. Time is precious and each moment comes along just once in your life. This blog post was written by Dr Sally Cathcart, Co-Founder and Director of The Curious Piano Teachers

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