I’m Susie Fergus, a career music educator, choral conductor, and mentor for other music educators…
…. and I help elementary music teachers develop practices in their teaching to avoid teacher burnout and engage ALL of their students in joyful music learning.
Professionally speaking, I have taught in general music and choral settings to all ages of students, pre-Kindergarten through adults, for over 17 years. I cannot remember a time in my life, even as a youth, that I did not make music or teach music in some way or another. I cannot imagine NOT teaching music to somebody - anybody - who might want to learn!
Like so many young, inexperienced music teachers, my enthusiasm for music was quickly eclipsed by the real-world challenges of a music classroom. No one prepared me for 8-year-old “Adrienne,” who spent the entire music class time climbing under and over the chairs while all the other children played singing games! And WHY did the fifth grade boys register for my choir class if they would then refuse to sing in class??
I quickly learned that TEACHING music is a different skill set than MAKING music!
At the same time that I was diving into my career, I also spent my summers getting my Kodály certification and my masters degree in choral music. As a side pursuit I also was facilitating personal development workshops locally. Leading those monthly workshops shaped my work in the classroom, teaching me to set healthy boundaries and empowering my students in their own learning. I began to work smarter and more sustainably in a career that can be overwhelming and often quite unhealthy. I learned to be more organized, to set priorities and boundaries that aligned with my values, and to take better care of my body and emotions in the midst of the overwhelm and stress.
In 2015 I joined the faculty of the Southeast Texas Kodály Certification Training in Houston. I transplanted what worked in my own music classes to the adult teachers in the course, and the results were successful there, too. I knew I was onto something that could benefit music educators as well as students. Our time together allows me to listen to other music teachers’ challenges and successes deeply. I have the honor of holding space for them to discover how to make teaching work for them even in daunting circumstances.
MasterClass, my signature online coaching course, was born out of my growing desire to support and serve music educators who long for a sustainable, wholehearted, satisfying career. Whether teaching in a public school district, a private school, or as a freelance studio owner, an empowered teacher is a better team player, a passion-driven educator, and a healthy family and community member. Our students deserve nothing less than this level of excellence! And our teachers need the tools that my experiences have given me.
Woven into this journey are four amazing humans who call me “Mom,” all of whom were subjected to my growing song collection, countless lessons and recitals, a never-ending stream of choir rehearsals and church services, and a mother who navigated her parenting years with the ebb and flow of Zen.
Explore my website at your leisure, and I hope that I can support you in your own journey to becoming the best version of music educator, instrumentalist, singer, or any combination of those that you aspire to be. You can connect with me directly here, via a direct phone call, or on social media. I look forward to serving you soon!