Lessons started a week ago – YAY!
I give every student a 1-inch white binder without a number of sections. This is where I write the assignment for the week, as well as provide them with a technical requirements for their grade level, rhythm drills if they don’t have the Rhythm Practice book, theory sheets for those not yet doing the grade level required theory courses, and all sorts of other bits and bobs.
Using binders for students is wonderfully flexible. Depending on the student and level, I divide them into the following sections. Some of the papers are available in my Printables section (along the top menu tab). Quite a few are available from others’ blogs and websites. In all cases, links to these other sites are listed under my Blogroll or Resources at the side.
- Assignment sheets: This year’s are lightly tweaked from Anne Crosby’s Pianoanne blog. They are available under Printables.
- Technique: Most students have some sort of technique book. This section includes a chart of all requirements for the grade level, extra exercises that would be beneficial, and any requirements that are not already included in a technique book. While I teach technique largely by rote, I believe it is important to actually see the patterns so they are more readily indentifiable in the repertoire.
- Skills: such as sight reading, ear tests, keyboard skills – anything on top of what the students have in their books. This year’s sight-reading comes largely from the 50 Piece Challenge.
- Repertoire – any (legally) downloaded music, or working copies of pieces from good books that will require a lot of marking. This takes care of the problem of the crumpled up sheet of music that inevitably gets lost, torn, or folded beyond recognition.
- Theory: for the youngsters. Note-naming, rhythm, scales, etc., until they are in grade 4 or 5 and start on the prescribed requirements and workbooks for their exams. For beginners I like Anne Crosby’s Barnyard Friends (Piano Discoveries under Resources); she also has a myriad of other fun stuff. Susan Paradis and Wendy Stevens (ComposeCreate) have also created many excellent worksheets.
- Performance: sometimes called Exam Preparation. I have a few handouts referring to performing etiquette, some of which I also use in my Performance Classes. Also included are bios of composers for Viva Voce portion of the Conservatory Canada exams.
I like plain white binders with a clear cover into which a cover sheet can be inserted. I get the student to draw – either by hand, on the computer, with stamps, etc. – a cover. The only requirements are that it says “My Piano Lessons” and has their name. I’ll post photos of some covers in a couple of weeks.