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How do you apply to present a clinic session at The Midwest Clinic? What should you expect if your application is accepted?

The Application Process

To have a session considered for The Midwest Clinic, interested individuals must complete an online application via our website Online applications will be made available by mid-January of each year. Applications must have been completed by Monday, March 9, 2020, 5:00PM (CST). Applications received by the deadline but without all the required materials will not be considered. Please do not contact The Midwest Clinic office requesting an extension for any item.

The Midwest Clinic recommends that individuals who have presented a clinic within the three preceding years of the desired presentation year wait before they reapply. For example, if you are applying to present at a Midwest Clinic year ending with the number “0,” you would not have been a clinician at the preceding Midwests ending in “7,” “8,” and “9.” Your participation in a panel discussion does not necessarily affect your eligibility to present a session as a sole clinician in that or a nearby year. However, the selection of clinicians is at the sole discretion of The Midwest Clinic Board of Directors. 

Note that applicants are expected to be available to present their clinic at any time during The Midwest Clinic; so before you apply please make sure that your calendar is clear for the entire duration of the conference until your session time and date are confirmed.

Clinic titles should be succinct and attractive. Attendees should receive an idea of the clinic’s content from the title alone, since it is possible that some will be deciding which clinics to attend based solely on these titles. Examples might include: “Grow Your Band's Expression Using European Literature,” “Jazz Band Rhythm Section 101,” or “Developing Expressive String Orchestra Performance through Singing.”

The Midwest Clinic welcomes applications representing all areas of instrumental music and music education (Band, Orchestra, Chamber Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble, and General [applies to all performance domains]), targeting the following areas...

Administration, Brass, Conducting/Rehearsal Techniques, Contemporary Trends and Issues in Education, Beginning Instruction, Chamber, Composing/Arranging, Diversity, Generation Next (college students/novice teachers), Musicianship, Small Schools, Standards, Curriculum, and Assessment, Technology, L.E.A.D. Initiative, and Other. 

It is not necessary for a clinician to have a sponsor, but all clinicians are responsible for their own fees and expenses. When the applications are evaluated and clinics then selected by the Board of Directors, those proposals without a sponsor are given the same consideration as sponsored ones.

With your application you will also provide a session outline and three evaluations from prominent teachers or other musicians who are familiar with your work. At least one evaluation must be by someone who has seen you present an educational workshop. Midwest Board members are ineligible to write an evaluation for your application. Recommendation forms must be sent electronically to The Midwest Clinic office by the person who is making the recommendation. The final section contained within the online application requires that you identify three individuals to whom you would like to send an evaluation form. Evaluations will be sent via email to each individual only AFTER the submission of your completed application, and therefore cannot be done in advance. The system will automatically generate a code for each individual, which they will in turn enter (via the link provided) to access the evaluation page. Following their assessment they will electronically return the form to The Midwest Clinic. The deadline for evaluations is Friday, March 13, 2020, 5:00PM (CST).

Any clinic in which music will be performed (i.e., a LIVE ensemble) must notate this in the appropriate space provide on the application. You may find a demonstration ensemble to use for your session, or Midwest can assist in locating one for you.

Perhaps the best advice regarding your clinic application is for you to put yourself in the shoes of the teachers in your audience: shape a clinic that will be of practical value to them the next day in their classes and rehearsal rooms. Applications that rely on more commercial overtones do not receive strong consideration from The Midwest Clinic Board of Directors.

Include a detailed outline of your proposed presentation. The Board of Directors wishes to give as strong consideration to applications from newer clinicians as it does to those of well-renowned clinicians, and your detailed proposal will provide the Board its best opportunity to assess the session you want to share with our attendees.

If Your Clinic is Not Accepted

If your clinic is not accepted, understand that your application may still have been of sufficient quality. The decision of the Board of Directors as to which clinic applications are accepted for a given year depends not only on the quality of the proposal and its relevance to our attendees but also on the overall menu of priority topics and how best to serve those attendees. Thus, achieving a balance of topics may mean declining a number of excellent clinic applications. We encourage you to re-apply as needed.

If, after clinics are chosen, you have questions about whether or how your application might be strengthened for the following year, please contact the Midwest Office or a member of the Board of Directors for any available feedback. You should note that many of The Midwest’s successful clinicians are individuals who have applied two, even three times before being accepted to present.

If Your Clinic is Accepted

If your clinic is accepted, you will be expected to prepare several hundred copies of a handout covering the educational concepts of your clinic. In November, the Midwest Clinic will inform clinicians as to how many copies they need to prepare. And if you give permission, these handouts will not only serve our attendees but also the many additional individuals who download handouts year-round from the Midwest’s web site—and do so from around the world!

One of the aspects of The Midwest Clinic that makes it unique is its goal to heighten the educational experience of the conference and lessen any potential overtones of commercialism. In short, clinics at Midwest are to teach educational concepts, not to promote products or services. The Board of Directors has found that most hour-long workshops that attempt to survey the applications of an entire text are not nearly as effective for our attendees as clinics that focus on a limited number of topics and solutions. Thus your application may need to reveal an approach that might be different from successful presentations you may already have delivered at various trade shows, in-service sessions, and state music education conferences.

This aspect of The Midwest is well-deserving of a few moments’ discussion. Allow us to offer you some examples.

Let’s say you have a book or product that represents the overall compilation of your approach: it may even be for sale in the exhibit area of The Midwest Clinic. The Board of Directors is confident that you can easily explore any number of educational angles on string bowing, brass playing, jazz theory, or chamber music repertoire without having to “sell” in an outright manner your own text, play-along CD, or technological creation. Your application—and your clinic itself—might be most successful if you ask yourself the following questions:

What concepts are most critical to my workshop?
What specific examples from my book or resource are most valuable for my handout?
Are there appropriate views other than my own—alternate references or approaches—that may serve not only to inform my audience but also increase my being perceived as an artist/educator rather than a company spokesperson?

There are a variety of approaches that are very acceptable at The Midwest’s clinic sessions:
Using examples excerpted from your publication or resource.
Including an order blank in your handout.
Inviting attendees to visit your exhibit booth during Midwest; and
Setting flyers for your product or service on a table at the rear of your clinic room.

But unacceptable approaches would include:
Titling your session so as to communicate total reliance on the product.
Guiding the attendees page-by-page through your publication so as to promote an introduction to the whole product rather than focusing on its educational substance.
Making repeated references to the availability of the item for purchase; and
Distributing samples of your product at your clinic.

The Midwest Clinic believes that clinicians can present the concepts inherent in their publications or resources without communicating a “hard-sell” attitude. Moreover, our attendees have indicated in Midwest surveys that they know when a clinician is “selling”—and that they respond negatively to it.

The directors who attend the Midwest Clinic are dedicated educators who are searching for information, approaches, and resources that they can apply to their own music programs. This is especially true for clinic sessions that utilize demonstration ensembles: resist the temptation to create a performance scenario that is not the true focus of the session. Again, put yourself in the shoes of the teachers in your audience, and shape a clinic that will be of practical value to them the next day in their classes and rehearsal rooms. By concentrating on practical guidance and instruction, you will help these directors to meet their goals in attending The Midwest Clinic.

If You Have Questions

If you have questions about these guidelines—or about any aspect of the clinic-application process—please contact The Midwest Clinic office or a member of the Board of Directors.