Last Thursday, we started a Forum Q&A discussion about assignment notebooks/pages for students. Today, I thought I’d share my own method of tracking assignments — and, of course, also announce the winner of the giveaway!
The winner of the sheet music decorative balls is commenter #5… LaDona! Congrats!! (By the way, if you haven’t seen LaDona’s wonderful blog before, you can check it out here.)
My method of tracking assignments is very similar to what many of you do: I write in a journal-sized notebook.
I always start with the date and then I outline any warmup/technique exercises (5-finger patterns, arpeggios, scales, etc). The photos in this post show a made-up but typical assignment page:
Each book is listed along with the page numbers of the assigned pieces. I always include brief notes for what I will be listening for at the next lesson. My students know that in order to “pass” each piece, they will need to reach those goals first! This is good motivation for them to read their notebook as they practice throughout the week. We often mark up the score too, but I find the notebook is a good place to put overall goals and comments.
When students forget to bring their notebook to the lesson (which doesn’t happen very often, fortunately), I use a separate sheet of paper for their assignment that day and tell them to staple or tape it into their notebook when they get home.
So that’s my current method! Someday, I’d love to try a digital method, like some of you described in the comment section of last week’s post. For now, my current system is working well. I have no trouble keeping up with the pace of the lesson — I am a fast writer, and I usually jot my notes down while students are finding the next page, putting a sticker on their finished pieces, etc..
I’ve heard of another great idea for assignment pages for more advanced students. I think I probably read it on the Yahoo group for piano teachers (please let me know if you happen to know who I can credit this idea to). Instead of organizing chronologically by date, each page of the notebook is for each piece that the student is working on. I really like the idea of having a progression of notes and comments from the very first week, especially for lengthy, involved repertoire!
Thanks, everyone, for sharing your assignment method!