Music Teacher's Helper Blog

Produce Your Own Pajama Conference

PJ conference

There’s nothing like attending a music conference. The insight gained from experts in the field, the buzz after a stunning concert, down time spent with fellow colleagues and the exhibit hall extravaganza all provide that “red-bull” boost of energy for the year to come.

The expense of attending conferences can be prohibitive. In addition, their scheduling may not always jive with yours. With today’s technology, you don’t have to feel like you’re missing out and you don’t even have to dress to go out!

Have you noticed how many webinars, podcasts and online conferences and courses are available? Why not take advantage of them!

It would be incredibly hard for me to choose favorites so I’m listing the following online options that are currently available in alphabetical order.  After you read through this list of tremendous resources, hand pick the ones that cater to your interests and purchase if necessary. Most live webinars offer a recording after the event so don’t worry about missing it. Just make sure to register so you are given access to the recording! The final thing: block off a time and treat yourself to your own pajama conference.

Wendy Stevens of is well-known for her savvy advice on studio policies, canceled lessons, paid time off, marketing etc. She offers her past webinars as videos for purchase on her site. Check them out here.

88 Creative Keys

If you are looking for ideas to be creative beyond the page, then consider the next webinar brought to you by Bradley Sowash and me–co-founders of 88 Creative Keys. It’s entitled Groove Your Theory and will feature tips on how to use the app iReal Pro and backing tracks to boost student technique, timing and theory. Learn more about this unique approach to simultaneously mastering theory concepts and improvisation skills here.

Michelle Sisler and friends hold an annual online conference which includes a lineup of nationally known presenters.   The event already took place February 2-6, 2016 and included an additional day called Tech Tuesday. All sessions are now available for purchase on-demand so you can re-watch a session as many times as you like until December 31, 2016. Here’s a preview of all the sessions. You can purchase your pass here.

Music Educator Resources

Jennifer Foxx of Music Educator Resources has designed two courses that will get your summer camps up and running. Her Make More, Teach Less! videos could be the perfect solution to end your summertime student drop-outs.


MTNA (Music Teachers National Association) will be holding their annual conference in San Antonio in April, 2016. However, they have now begun to offer webinars. The latest: Demystifying Baroque and Classical Ornamentation. If you miss any of them, the recordings can be found on the MTNA YouTube channel.

Andrea and Trevor Dow provide ongoing advice for piano teachers and include podcasts as part of their site called TeachPianoToday. You’ll hear advice from many experts. Check out their growing list of podcasts here.

Tim Topham

Tim Topham has generated a blog into a growing community of fellow colleagues and experts in the field of piano teaching. One of the ways he’s accomplished this is by his Tim TV Piano Teaching Podcasts. Tim interviews various authors, teachers, and innovators and records the interviews so they can be accessed on YouTube or downloaded on your mobile device as a podcast.

Tracy Selle

Tracy Selle along with Sara Campbell have produced a webinar called Group Lessons 101. Their intent is to help you learn how to plan, market, and instruct group lessons of all kinds. The webinar includes guest experts (teachers in the trenches making things happen in their studios!) who will guide you from start to finish and they’ve even included some freebies to make planning easier.


Follow JoyTunes  on their Facebook page to learn about their sponsored webinars.

Do you have others to add to the list? Let me know and I’ll add them. Yes, some are free, but others you’ll need to pay because they are not sponsored by products or companies. Think of each one as an investment on a serious budget. If you would purchase all the these online resources, it would still add up to considerably less money than attending a true conference. And, you can watch videos and listen to podcasts over and over again.


A meal plan for your conference will be a breeze if you add all the phone numbers into your smartphone of your favorite restaurants who offer free delivery. It’ll save you time AND you can stay in your PJ’s!

Need some evening entertainment to finish off your conference? Then sit back in your easy chair, grab some popcorn and watch this documentary of Seymour Bernstein. It’s available on Netflix. Here’s the trailer.

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  1. Robin Steinweg

    Super article, Leila. I attended one of your recent webinars (so good!), and have purchased Group Lessons 101. Webinars are the way to go.

  2. Sara Campbell

    What a wonderful idea 🙂 I love pajama days! Thanks for including our Group Lessons 101 course here, Leila!

  3. Leila J Viss

    You are welcome Sara. I can’t wait to watch it all and get my summer camps up and running in good time this year.

  4. Leila J Viss

    Thanks Robin. I was thinking I may need to get special PJ’s just for my pajama conference 🙂

  5. Gabriele

    Leila, thank-you, for this post.

  6. Leila J Viss

    You are welcome, Gabrielle. I hope you find your PJ conference enlightening!

  7. Elissa Milne

    How did I miss this very cool post til now?! Anything that involves being in my pjs for longer gets a thumbs-up from me!

    That said, I *am* going to MTNA this year, and I’m sad to discover I won’t get to catch up with you this time…. 🙁

  8. Leila J Viss

    Nuts, sorry to miss you, Elissa. MTNA is lucky to have you there. This was one of those years where I just needed to cut down on traveling. Hope you have a safe trip. Cheers to PJ’s!

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