Tracking Progress of Piano Students

tracking student progress in piano studyI received an email from a reader over the weekend, asking: “I would love to know your general process/techniques for keeping record of work done with a student.”

Although piano methods already provide structure for study and the student’s assignment notebook does serve as a log of the student’s progress, I personally find it very helpful to keep my own records and notes about each student.  As a colleague of mine recently said, the idea is to have a plan or record of the past, the present, and the future.

Here are some of the things I like to keep notes about:

  • The student’s current level.
  • When the student began lessons.
  • Curriculum. Meaning, the books we are using, when books/pieces are completed, a repertoire list, etc..
  • Pieces/books I think would be appropriate for the student in the future.
  • Events the student has participated in (recitals, festivals, exams, etc.).
  • And any other accomplishments or miscellaneous notes.

evernoteI currently use Evernote to store my notes, but any program or platform would work. (Evernote is an online-based note-taking service that offers syncing across their apps for smartphone, tablet, and computer.) In Evernote, I have a notebook for “Active Students” and “Inactive Students.” Each notebook contains a series of notes titled by student name.

I do not necessarily pull up these notes during the lesson time, unless I need them for some reason. I find myself referring to my notes before I begin teaching for the day or when I’m brainstorming about a student’s needs.

Below is an example of what my teacher notes look like for a hypothetical elementary-level student and intermediate-level student, covering September 2012 through August 2014. [Note: The repertoire list for the intermediate student be much longer in reality, but I’ve kept it short for this example.]


JANE DOE

Current Level: Mid Elementary
Joined Studio: September 2012
Began Lessons: September 2012
Notes: Began as a 6-year-old. Very enthusiastic beginner with an excellent natural sense of rhythm. Read More »

Posted in piano pedagogy, piano teacher institute, repertoire / methods | Tagged , , | 2 Responses

2015 Annual Blogiversary Sale

Sale

The annual Blogiversary Sale is going on now!  Take 20% off all items in my digital shop.

Promo Code: 20OFF2015

You must enter the promo code in the shopping cart to receive the discount. Sale expires on Friday, March 20, 2015.

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Upcoming Blogiversary and Other Shop News

Hello, folks!

The good news first: On February 28 is the ColorInMyPiano blog’s birthday!  I’ve been blogging for 6 years now. I wanted to let you know that in celebration, I will once again holding the annual 20% off sale on everything in my digital shop. This will begin on Monday, February 23 and last through Friday, March 20, 2015. Now is the time to plan ahead for group classes or summer camps and purchase any curriculum you might need!

I wanted to also let you know that my shop is now compliant with the new European VAT law that went into effect on January 1, 2015, affecting digital goods sales. Especially if you haven’t heard about this law and the issues surrounding it yet, I highly recommend giving this article a quick read. Selling digital items online is becoming more complicated as governments try to decide how such products should be taxed!  :\

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

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Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom

chinese proverb quote

“Tell me and I forget. Show me and I remember. Involve me and I understand.”

– Chinese Proverb

Feel free to download and share this quote or image.

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February Happenings

My students and I are counting down the days until our studio recital!  I find that having this visual reminder each week in the studio is very helpful for students as they prepare for the big day.  Learn how you can make your own Recital Countdown with a 4×6 photo frame here.

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Valentine’s Day is this Saturday!  I have two piano valentine printables that I created in previous years that you might be interested in using.  Or, perhaps this year you might like to use Susan Paradis’ or Wendy Stevens’ designs?  Below you’ll find some photographic inspiration.  Read More »

Posted in seasonal / holiday, what I'm up to | Tagged | 3 Responses

Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom

emerson quote

“The secret of education is respecting the pupil.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Feel free to download and share this quote or image.

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Presentation on iPad Apps for ToledoPTA

This morning, I gave a presentation for our Toledo Piano Teachers Association meeting.  TPTA is a small, very friendly group of teachers who are interested in learning new things.  We meet once a month and generally we take turns giving the programs — although occasionally we bring in outside guest speakers.

My topic was “iPad Apps for Piano Teachers.”  I began with some important introductory comments about responsible incorporation of technology into education, and then I launched into some of my favorite apps and what roles they play in the education process.  Most of the apps I talked about are ones that I have reviewed before here on my blog.

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It was a fun morning!  I always look forward to our monthly TPTA meetings.

Tech specs, for those interested: I used a $13 piece of software called Reflector to turn my MacBook into an AirPlay receiver.  My MacBook was connected to my projector using HDMI. (There are simpler ways to connect an iPad to a projector, but this was the cheapest/easiest way for me at the moment.)  Using AirPlay from my iPad means that I could walk around wirelessly with my iPad, which was nice.  AirPlay/Reflector requires that both the Macbook and the iPad be connected to the same network and I didn’t have internet access at the church, so I brought along my AirPort Express to create a non-Wifi network.  This kind of network is actually much more reliable than a Wifi network is, so that was a bonus.  I had to haul along a lot of stuff with me to make this all happen, but fortunately it worked pretty smoothly!

I’ve added this iPad presentation to my list of workshops on my personal website.  My next scheduled presentation will be during the Young Professionals Track on Pedagogy Saturday of the 2015 MTNA National Conference in Las Vegas next month.  My topic: “Harnessing the Power of the Internet: Blogging and Social Media for the Musician.” Maybe I’ll see some of you there!

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Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom

plutarch quote

“A mind is a fire to be kindled, not a vessel to be filled.”

– Plutarch

Feel free to download and share this quote or image.

Posted in Words of Wisdom | Tagged | 1 Response

Recommendation: Canva.com for Basic Graphic Work

Just a quick recommendation today:

For basic graphic design work, I highly recommend on website Canva.com.  Using a free account and the huge variety of templates available, you can create graphics for just about anything.  I’ve been using Canva as an inspirational starting point for many of my projects recently (Wednesday Words of Wisdom quotes, blog graphics, recital programs, etc) and I can’t say enough good about it!

Here is a screenshot:

Screen Shot 2015-02-03 at 1.50.17 PM

Within the site, you can use a large selection of graphics at no cost.  If you decide to use a piece of stock photograph/art within Canva, they each cost $1.  Very affordable, and the output looks great.

Happy creating!

Posted in reviews, technology | Tagged | 5 Responses

Recital Invitation & Program Template

My students and I are currently preparing pieces for our Spring Recital.  I like to schedule my recital early (March or April), to avoid the busy end-of-the-year season.

This year, I decided to design some simple recital invitations for students to share with family and friends.  I printed these myself on cardstock paper.

20150129_115454 NIKON web

I also designed a matching recital program that I will use that day.

Feel free to download the Microsoft Word template for the invitations/program design and use them yourself this year.  All you have to do is edit the text and add your own studio name/logo.  You recommend printing onto nice, heavy paper in the color of your choice.

  Piano Recital Program & Invitation - Template #5 (169.0 KiB, 582 hits)

You’ll find this along with other recital program template designs on the Printables > Other Resources page.  Enjoy!

Posted in recitals / performances, studio business | Tagged , , , , | 4 Responses

App Review: Petronome

petronomeApp Review: Petronome for iPhone/iPad (FREE, or pay $0.99 to remove ads and add additional “pets”).

Petronome is just what is sounds like: a pet + a metronome. :) It is a fun app to use for rhythm activities with preschoolers or any young beginner student. (Thanks goes to blog reader Elaine for letting me know about this app!)  Read More »

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Music Keys Incentive Idea for Scales, Arpeggios, Cadences

DSC_20130701_165441Piano teacher Patti Bennett from Georgia came up with an awesome way to use the music keys printable I created back in 2013 (see this post).  She kindly agreed to let me post her photos and details about her incentive idea today!

Patti has her students participate in Piano Guild Auditions in May, so she always has a big scale push beginning in January. This year, she was inspired to use the keys printable to create an entire incentive program to get her students enthused about learning their scales, cadences and arpeggios following the Guild requirements.

Major key challenge sign

bulletin board

Patti started by preparing packets of the keys for each student, cutting them out and placing them in Ziploc snack bags with their names.  There are five little bins for the major keys: one for one octave (white paper), one for two octave (beige paper), one for three octave (blue), one for four octave (red).  She also printed out sets for the minor keys.

keys on colored paper

She also created her own additional key cards for 10 hours of practice and for 5 pieces memorized.

key cards

As students master their scales and more by memory, they go to the bins, grab out their packet, locate the key and put it on their key ring on this bulletin board.  Patti says that the parents have been coming over as well, excited to watch this part.

bulletin board angle

Patti says that everyone is all smiles and eager to work on scales, as opposed to saying “do I have to work on scales”, or “I forgot to practice my scales” (sure you did) or whatever other excuse.

What a great way to inspire everyone to work hard on those scales and more!  ;)  Great job and thanks for sharing, Patti!

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