Saturday, August 10, 2013

Lesson Binders

 I can remember when I took piano lessons my teacher gave me a small spiral notebook. Each week she would jot down the songs I needed to practice. But that was about it. She didn't use worksheets or give out certificates. She had no listening program, awards or goals for me.

Today, I have all sorts of things to put in my students lesson binders. Starting a 3-ring binder is easy and its a great way to contain all of my student's papers for the year.

My students also have a 1/2" black performance binder- dedicated solely to recitals. Each performance piece is copied into the binder and put into page savers. When the students come to [studio] recitals, they only have to bring the performance binder.

For the lesson binder I begin with a nice cover that includes my student's name and the date they began lessons.

In the front of the notebook I insert the assignment pages. When the student opens the binder the current week's assignment is always on top so they don't have to shuffle through pages or go hunting for the assignment.

Then I choose what topics are important in my regular lessons and insert subject dividers. This year I have highlighted the following 8 topics:

  1. Lesson
  2. Theory
  3. Practice
  4. PIANOlympics
  5. Sight Reading
  6. Listening
  7. Performance
  8. Goals

Here is how I use them- 

This is for individual pieces that I want the student to work on that are not found in their regular lesson books. Sometimes I find a song in one of my supplemental books that I know the student would love. Rather than making the parent buy the book I already own, I will copy the piece and place it in the lesson section. 

This section is for theoretical concepts that I want to further explain to the student that go above and beyond what their theory workbook explains. Sometimes I'll insert supplemental worksheets or rhythmic exercises in this section. 

The practice section is new this fall. Here, I am inserting a worksheet that lists all the practice strategies found on our Piano Key Chain. The student will choose one strategy each week and use it in their weekly practice. The following week they will explain and demonstrate the strategy and write it down on the practice page in their binder.

The PIANOlympics section contains the book I use for their piano technical challenges. I also have scale, triad, and interval quizzes they must pass in order to earn PIANOlympic points and charts to keep track of  the points.

Sight Reading
The sight reading section is for the chart that records what books they sight read and the date of completion. This is where I keep track of books completed for the Sight Reading Trophy.

This section holds the pages for my listening program. Students borrow and listen to CD's each week and complete a listening challenge worksheet for each. They accumulate points for each CD listened to or each concert they attend.

The performance section will hold the new performance cards I am making the year. Students will have a fun memento of each performance and I get to save tons on card stock and ink. 

This section holds the page that lists the goals students have set for themselves for the academic  year. 

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