Abstract

Professional development is an important part of any teaching career. Although it has been investigated within the field of music education, there is limited research on the experiences of mid-career music teachers from a first-person perspective, especially within a conservatory context. In this collaborative self-study, the authors analyze the professional development journey that one of them undertook as she followed a series of snare drum lessons to enhance her practice as a mid-career percussion teacher. Over a period of a year, the first author kept a research journal, working dialogically with a researcher to understand and extend these reflections. Using self-study as a systematic means of inquiry into practice, this article reveals the development of the first author's practical knowledge and subjective educational theory. Five themes encapsulate the findings: (i) although a learner by nature, going back to basics was a challenge; (ii) reflecting on learning prompted reflection on teaching; (iii) the importance of placing learning in a historical context and wider framework; (iv) taking care of students; and (v) with fresh eyes comes the need to keep focused. In presenting evocative accounts of lived experience, reflective and reflexive commentary, and critical reflection informed by literature, the results and discussion read as a through-composed narrative. This research offers insights to mid-career music teachers and their employers regarding the impact and design of professional development opportunities. It also demonstrates an approach to self-study that might be useful to others who want to undertake similar investigations of their practice.

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