How To Get Over Post-Concert Burnout

It took me about 25 days to get over the burnout from my last concert. I don't think that my administrators and fellow classroom teachers understand the amount of pressure and stress that a performance puts on the music teacher. 

Here are the steps I took to get over the burnout:

Temporarily pause lunch and after-school clubs & activities. 

As music teachers we give way too much of our time (outside of our scheduled classroom lessons) to our students because we understand the benefit that this brings to our program, but we don't stop to think about refueling ourselves by giving ourselves that time back. 

My students were not happy about this. Some kids come to the music room during lunch because of social insecurities, others because it is too humid outside, and others because the love practicing their instrument. Whatever the reason, it is time that we as teachers can't spend on ourselves eating peacefully, taking a walk around school, or even leave the school (if your school has an open campus). 

I spent my time eating my lunch peacefully and watching Dave Ramsey YouTube videos. When I wasn't on YouTube I was on Skype with my parents. It was so nice to have a quiet time in the classroom. 

How to do this:

  • Put a sign on your door that says that the music room will not be open for practice time during lunch and recess.
  • Add a date letting students know when you do plan on resuming practices, if you do.
  • LOCK your door. 
  • DO NOT open the door if it is students who are trying to come in. 

If possible, eat at the teacher's lounge or somewhere else the first week you move to this system. Students will try to push the limit and ask to be let in. I didn't go to the teacher's lounge because it happens to be connected to the administrative office where people are working too.

Give your students group-work during class

Leading a class takes so much energy. Giving the students group work and assigning them group activities takes much less energy and is really fun for the kids! 

I usually create 7 work stations with the following instruments:
  • 1 keyboard
  • 1 xylophone
  • 2 ukuleles
Links to free PDF sheet music I hand out:

I give the students sheet music from the links above and the following instructions:

  • Please work together in your groups to perform this piece of music. 
  • Decide who will play each instrument, who will play the  melody line, and who will play the chords/harmony. 
  • In 15 minutes I will ask all groups to perform line 1 of the song.
  • Do not leave your work station if you have a question for me. Raise your hand and I will come to you.
    • I really enforce this last one. If I let the kids come to me, I have a tail of 5 children who follow me around. Making the students raise their hands and wait for me also builds student independence. By the time I come around to their work station the group has figured out the answer to the question they had. 

I set a timer and walk around the classroom giving individual help to students who need help. This part is actually fun for me because I get to teach kids one-on-one and I get energy from that. This is the part of the job that is really rewarding for me!

Go to a Teacher's Conference 

There is nothing like going to a really good conference, teacher's workshop, or a high quality professional development seminar to get you excited about teaching again. 

If attending a conference or workshop is out of the question for you, then treat yourself to a book by an educator, teacher, or role model you admire.

We not only have to rest from the crazyness of the concert(s) that just took place, but also replenish our desire to teach with passion again. 

Take a mini-vacation (weekend getaway)

The one thing that helped me most was the mini-vacation I took with my husband. We cleaned the house, did laundry, and washed dishes on Friday night, left on Saturday morning, and came back to a clean home on Sunday evening. 

We had limited access to internet, which kept me away from e-mails and messages, ate out, and rode our bikes for transportation. It was such a getaway from the normal routine, that it really refreshed me and made me excited to go back to work and start new projects with the kids. 

Any vacation that gets you in touch with nature will replenish you. Any getaway that gets you to spend time with a loved one will strengthen that relationship and help you realize that life is bigger than what happens in your classroom. 

Ride a bike or do something you enjoyed in your youth

When I was a middle school I used to ride my bike every single day. I LOVED getting out and enjoying the sunset from the seat of my bike. As I grew older and busier, I lost touch with that hobby and forgot how much I enjoyed it. 

Now that I am over my burnout I still ride my bike, enjoy the sunset, and go out to eat at nearby restaurants. The exercise it takes for me to get to and from the restaurants makes me less guilty about eating out ;)


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