Piano Teacher Institute, repertoire / methods

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. Continue reading “Tracking Progress of Piano Students”

Announcements

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!

Announcements, seasonal / holiday

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.  Continue reading “February Happenings”

Announcements, Technology

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!

Reviews, Technology

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:

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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!

Performances, Studio Business

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.

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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, 8,020 hits)

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