Mentorship & Motivation in Education
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April is filled with change. We've recently transitioned from winter to spring with the weather changing in crazy ways! April also may be the time for professional decisions to be made for actions such as transfers, resignations, and retirements. How will you be making key changes regarding these decisions?

When the pandemic began in March 2020, it had a similar feeling to my experience a few years earlier! I felt as though I had my own personal pandemic in 2015-2016 when I gave birth to my first child and made the decision to leave the classroom full-time. I had moments of isolation, uncertainty, and a sense of being in limbo. However, I also created time for reflection and evaluation of what I wanted my life and my family's life to be. 

During those immediate changes, many people questioned my decisions (including myself at times). Ironically, some of those same people reached out in the early stages of the pandemic to inquire how I made those decisions and how those changes impacted me. Since then, I have lost count of the number of people who have contacted me (most recently in the last two years) to ask for advice and talk through decisions about making key changes in their lives—most often in regard to their careers. I feel honored that they trust me in this decision-making process, I enjoy making a deep connection with them, and I appreciate offering questions for reflection based on their situations.

When I speak to individuals who are considering leaving their current position (whatever that is), I ask them to reflect on one particular question: If you leave this position, how will you fill the void of the joy, creativity, and productivity this role is currently offering you? For me, I went from the daily teaching of students in a middle school band setting to parenting my own children, teaching private saxophone lessons, writing, studying, and mentoring and motivating educators in unique ways—which has progressively morphed into full-time work. The conducting and teaching high was replaced with the high of watching my children grow and learn, hearing a single musician attain their potential, having a piece of writing published, and encouraging staff members to reflect on their daily practices through speaking and consulting opportunities. I had a vision of how I wanted my career to unfold and how this would gel with raising my family. A vision is essential in making key changes.

Reflect on what you want in life and not what others think a career/job/position should be for 1 year, 19 years, or the golden 30 years. You’ll always be a teacher [or whatever professional] regardless of if you stay, transfer, resign, or retire. No one can tell you what to do, how to do it, or when to make any type of change. The prime advice I share these days with people who are contemplating leaving a full-time job, most specifically in education, is to think about how you will fill the void of the “teaching high” should you choose to make a change. Some people need that "high" 5 days a week, and others may only need it once a week, a few hours here and there, or even a few times throughout the year. Only you know how often that high is essential for your well-being. That decision will impact you in many ways—mentally, physically, and spiritually. What I have experienced and designed for myself is that teaching can be shaped outside the walls of a "classroom," if you are willing to explore, create, and evaluate. "Students" come in all ages and forms and the teaching void can be filled in many unique ways. Only YOU know what kind of walls you need and how tall they should be. 💗

Once you make a change, then own it.

Embrace uniqueness!
💗 Lori



“Look closely at the present you are constructing; it should look like the future you are dreaming.” –Alice Walker


How will you make key changes this month to move closer to the life you've always imagined? Watch/Listen to Lori speak.


If you are considering making a change in your career, how will you go about it? What questions will you ask? Whom will you include in the conversation? How are you feeling? What are you doing to prepare for this change? How will you fill the void of what you are currently doing in your present position? If you are an educator, how will you get that teaching "high" and how often do you need to obtain it in your life? How will you own the decision once you have made it? To whom will you reach out when you need support?



An Individual Path: Thinking Outside the Box When Making Career Changes

“Always go with the choice that scares you the most, because that’s the one that is going to help you grow.” —Caroline Myss

There will be moments in one’s career when a choice must be made to remain in a position, transfer to another, explore a new level or subject area, navigate a different certification area, take a leave of absence, retire, and so on. Regardless of the circumstances—age, degree, certification, level, personal situation, etc.—the decision-making process can be difficult and emotional. This article offers ideas for making key changes:


Thank you to the following artists for their words of wisdom:

Recently Published Article


A Question for Reflection: Do Students and Staff See a Representation of Women in Music?

Thank you to Catherina Hurlburt for asking me to expand on last month's Making Key Changes newsletter in the form of an article for the National Association for Music Education!

Recently Published Article


The Heartbreaking Truth about Education: Why and How Will We Survive?

Before this article published, I sent it to my “tell-it-how-it-is” friend and educator. After she complimented the article, I responded with, “It’s a little edgier for me. I’m wondering if it will get any negative pushback.” Without hesitation, she remarked, “Why, because it’s the reality that we are all facing right now??? The only negative pushback will be because you told the truth and people don’t like the truth.”

This article is co-authored with fellow educator Ken Buck. We have similar views on education and the profession we love so much. We decided to work together to tell the heartbreaking truth about WHY and HOW education will survive. We CAN make it better! We must - for our children. ❤️

Student Opportunities



Private Saxophone Lessons

Lori has a few face-to-face and Zoom lesson spots available in her saxophone studio. She teaches several saxophone players ranging in age from children to adults who reside in Maryland and other geographical regions:

Spring Solo & Ensemble Festival

The Maryland Music Educators Association (MMEA) is offering a spring solo and ensemble opportunity for students to record a performance and receive an evaluation:
  • This event is open to all Maryland students in public, private, or independent schools, as well as students who participate in private lessons.
  • Submissions are due by April 20.
  • Information

Summer Music Camps & Programs

Thank you to Barbra Weidlein, Director of, for providing this extensive list of 2022 summer music camps and programs:

Educator Opportunities


Graduate Course

  • "Making Key Changes: Refresh Your Music Program"
  • Information & Registration for the course
    • The University of the Arts 
      • July 18 - 22, 2022  (5 days)
      • 8:30 am - 4:30 pm EDT
      • ON-CAMPUS at Villanova University (lodging available)
      • Registration is open!
    • VanderCook College of Music
      • Dates/Times TBA
      • ONLINE via VanderCook College of Music
      • Registration coming soon!

One-on-One Coaching

  • 30-minute or 1-hour sessions are available
  • Schedule a session

Keynote or PD Sessions

Ask Lori to design and/or present meaningful and reflective sessions to mentor or motivate staff or students in your business, organization, or school system. Review popular sessions.

April Engagements




  • April 2022
  • "The Heartbreaking Truth about Education: Why and How We Will Survive"
  • Article co-authored with Ken Buck


  • April 2, 2022 
  • Howard County Secondary Solo and Ensemble Festival, Maryland
  • Festival co-coordinated with Jonathan Sindler


  • April 5, 2022 - virtual
  • University of Maryland - NAfME Collegiate Chapter
  • Session:  "Embrace Your Uniqueness! Strategies to Launch Your Career"


  • April 7, 2022 
  • Pennsylvania Music Educators Association Conference
  • Session:  "Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Am I Providing Opportunities Reflecting All?"


  • April 11, 2022 - virtual
  • San Bernardino City Unified School District, California
  • Session 5 of 6:  "Making Key Changes: Refresh Your Music Program"

Researcher & Presenter

  • April 13, 2022 - virtual
  • Liberty University, Virginia
  • Session: "The Student Voice: Perception of Students' Representation of Themselves in the Secondary Band Curriculum"


  • April 19, 22-23, 2022 
  • Howard County Middle School Honor Band, Maryland
  • Ensemble co-directed with Robby Burns


  • April 20, 2022 
  • Prince George's County In-School Band Clinic, Maryland
    • Walker Mill Middle School Band
    • Kenmoor Middle School Band


  • April 21, 2022 
  • Montgomery County Middle School Band Adjudication, Maryland



The last few months have been filled with adjudicating, speaking, and writing. It’s been a pleasure to return to band halls and auditoriums to adjudicate both concert and jazz band festivals in MD and WV, adjudicate solo/ensemble performances, speak in a handful of collegiate classrooms, design/present professional development opportunities for teachers in CA, PA, NJ, and TX, and to collaborate with composers on program notes and colleagues on educational articles. I love it all! I am thankful for these opportunities to grow, learn, and spread joy. 

🔑 The calendar is open for the 2022-2023 school year, and I am beginning to schedule keynotes and PD sessions in both face-to-face and virtual formats. I look forward to traveling to some fascinating businesses, schools, and locations to serve both staff and students! Please reach out if you are interested in scheduling a session (all content areas/levels). I have sessions already designed or I can work with you to design/present the best fit for your business/organization/school. The overall question for reflection is: “How Are We Making Key Changes to Unlock Our Potential?” 🔐

The best part about traveling to work with students and collaborate with staff is the ability to experience firsthand their expertise and passion! I’ve learned a great deal from individuals by witnessing their commitment to education and empathy. Recently, I listened to an amazing design director speak of how she wants to inspire her staff to connect with and understand their clients on a more personal level. I experienced a determined fine arts administrator remind an audience that even though it was “Arts in Our Schools Month,” it was also a time when schedule changes occur by administrators and to “notify your school system and share your appreciation for the fine arts and why it must stay in our students’ schedules.” I overheard a colleague who was adjudicating his former band director’s band tell the students, “Years ago, I had a band director ask me if I wanted to be a music teacher. She inspired me to do this job today. . . That teacher is your band director.” I observed a child in a wheelchair confidently maneuver herself on stage and energetically perform with her peers. I watched kind children carry the instrument case and hold the crutches for another student while he assembled his instrument and wobbled on stage to perform. I read the book of an articulate and humorous colleague who has overcome a lifetime journey of defying the odds to achieve his dreams. During a reflection activity, I intently listened as staff members shared aloud the strengths of their colleagues and watched as some recipients cried tears of joy for being acknowledged for their daily work. The list goes on. The positivity and joy are there! We must unlock this and spread it each day. ❤️
Contact Lori if you have unique ideas for future collaborations. 



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