These planner sheets have been available as a free download on my website for quite a while, but since it’s the beginning of a year, I thought I’d re-highlight them. In my last post, I mentioned that I find the beginning of each new semester to be the time that I’m most organized and teach the most “balanced” curriculum. That means that this is the time of year that I’m most likely to send students home with a variety of things to include in their practice time: new technique patterns, ear training and theory worksheets to complete, rhythm drills to practice, all in addition to repertoire.
And here’s what helps make all of that happen at home:
These lesson sheets are something I developed and tweaked over the course of a couple of years to help my students organize all of those varied assignments. All they have to do at home is work their way down the list and check off what they complete each day. It’s a great way for me to be able to see at a glance how much each piece has been practiced in a week. I use the lines at the bottom to send home non-repertoire assignments, but also use the space to the left to make notes to myself about what we’ve done each week in lessons. Since it’s just not usually feasible to get through all of the “extra” categories in one lesson, I can easily see what we worked on the week before and make sure that we rotate through all of the categories week-by-week.
Recently, I worked with a busy student to set up a prioritized schedule for practice time (i.e. spend 5 minutes each day reviewing one of two pieces, 5 minutes on a problem spot in a memorized piece, then 20 minutes on a priority piece). The idea of giving students really specific break-downs of practice time stuck with me through that week. Sometimes, even with a detailed planner and assignment list, organizing one’s time is a challenge!
I keep LOTS of packs of these handy in my studio:
This week, I let students pick different colors for each assigned piece (or sections of a piece) write a scheduled number of minutes on the flag, then stick it next to the appropriate line on their assignment sheet. Practice turned into a colorful project! (On a side note, these flags come in SO handy for marking music and assignments they could warrant a post of their own. I go through so many a student actually got me a giant Post-It Flag organizer for Christmas!)