Finding useful, topical professional development courses for music educators has always been a problem. Few districts devote any professional development resources to our specific area of teaching, leaving teachers to go out of their way to find useful, meaningful classes that assist them in their own classrooms. SoundTree seems to be trying to fix that problem by providing a new opportunity for teachers and musicians called the SoundTree Institute. This new site seems aimed at finding ways to let teachers get training and information on many of the technology tools that we are now using in our classrooms.
The SoundTree Institute currently is offering about a dozen different courses and classes taught in an online webinar format. The one hour courses consist of a variety of topics with titles like â€œFinding The Funds For Music Technology,â€ â€œIntroduction to Mixcraft,â€ and â€œFilm Scoring With GarageBand.â€ There are also some four hour courses available on more in depth topics having to do with technologies such as Siblelius 7 and using interactive whiteboards in the music classroom. Membership costs $49 per year and allows the user to sign up for the one hour webinars while the more advanced four hour courses cost $99 in addition to the annual membership fee.
In the Media Player section of the site users can get access to dozens of recorded video webinars from past sessions on an even wider variety of topics like music notation, copyright law, Web 2.0 tools, and Korg branded hardware. All of these are also provided free with the annual membership.
For those with little or no access to good music oriented professional development choices the SoundTree Institute is an excellent alternative that bears taking a look at. As the site becomes more popular it seems logical that more and more session topics will come available. There also appear to be plans for some ten hour long graduate level course content in the future.