BershThe Music for All Summer Symposium is an awesome opportunity for directors, both seasoned and new to the profession, to come together and share perspectives about the art of teaching music. In particular, Summer Symposium can be a great resource for band directors just starting out or those that are within their first years of teaching.  

This week I had a chance to catch up with Brian Bersh, a band director from Yorktown High School in Virginia. This is his first time at the Music for All Summer Symposium and I wanted to see how the experience has been so far.

How did you hear about the Summer Symposium and why did you decide to come? 

Brian: A mentor teacher of mine introduced me to the   National Concert Festival. I actually applied to and attended the Festival this past March with a percussion ensemble from my school and thought that the festival was very well organized and run. It was the best festival experience that I have ever been to. Once I heard about the camp, I figured it would be an equally wonderful experience. 

What do you hope to get out of the experience at camp? 

The main reason I came was to seek new methods to communicate with my students. There are many great method books out there and I’ve have a lot of great teachers in the past, but it’s a totally different thing to see teachers who are at the top of their game and how they communicate to their students. I want to see how what they say and do resonates with my teaching style and what I can do to incorporate that into my method to make myself a better overall teacher.

Did you bring any students with you? If not, do you intend to bring students in the future? 

Brian: I did not bring any students this year, but definitely plan to in 2016. After observing the Leadership Weekend, I feel that my students could only benefit from having that awesome experience. Particularly seeing how intimate that experience was for the students that participated and the bonds that made with each other, not to mention the wealth of knowledge they gained was great. There is no way they could go back to our home program and not be better leaders for the entire band.  

What have been some of the highlights of camp? 

I highly value the opportunity to connect with other educators from around the country. There are tons of different perspectives and different situations that directors are in and the ability to share the positives, negatives and how to deal with those situations is invaluable. Also I feel that everyone including the faculty and clinicians are on the same “level” and are accessible. It is not like that at other events like this. 

See a clip from the video below:

Jerome Horne
Participant Relations Assistant