It’s the most wonderful time of the year …

Right around this time, Staples always seems to have a commercial with “It’s the most wonderful time of the year” playing in the background.  I tried one year to sing the song while in Staples with my kids.  While they didn’t have frowns on their faces, they certainly didn’t join in.  But, it did seem to confuse them enough that I was able to grab things & get out before there was a lot of “Mommy, can we get that?  Ooh, and that!”

There have been different incarnations of the commercial since it came out in 1996.  For your viewing pleasure, I’ve included the original.

This year, for my students I’m focusing on practice.  Even with practice sheets I painstakingly created (but rarely got read) as well as reviewing what & how to practice during lesson time, my students are not making the progress that I would like & KNOW they could make.  I’ve noticed that there is a definite educational focus towards giving students more responsibility in their education.  Think inquiry-based learning, project-based learning, student-led conferences & the list goes on.  Many ideas have been around for years or even decades, but seem to be coming into their own in mainstream education.  

So, I thought “Why not my students?”

This year, there are a few changes to how things will be done in the studio.

Practice Pages:

  • Students will be printing off their own!
    • I save time by typing notes directly onto my lesson plan (I use Planboard) which is then emailed/texted to the student &/or parent.
    • My anecdotal records will be completed in lesson with no extra time.
    • When they print it off & add it to their binder, they will (hopefully) look at it.
  • Designed in a table format with very few embellishments (my studio logo & colour on the headings).
  • Where I got the idea:  Leila had sent a copy of her practice page which I really loved & borrowed heavily from.
    • Each assignment is divided into 3 sections:
      • Assignment (book, page number)
      • Practice instructions (we decide together in lesson)
      • Goals for next lesson (new idea from Leila that will hopefully provide a continual movement forward for students)
    • Below is an “Off the Bench … & More!” which covers any composing, ear training, rhythm, sight reading, special projects, technique or general theory assignments for the week.
    • Lastly, there is a section for extra notes which will include encouragement or specific praise for how they did in lesson.

Practice Pouches:

  • Where I got the idea:  Jennifer’s Music Educator Resources (Practice Kits) & Leila’s 88 Piano Keys (Practice Pouch: Turn Practice into Progress).
  • Practice pouches go directly into their binders.  (Difficult to lose or misplace.)
  • Includes the following:
    • Mechanical pencil
    • Eraser: for it’s intended use, but also practicing lifts
    • Highlighter
    • Small flip notebook: vocabulary terms, special achievements, etc.
    • Clip: knuckle strengthening & holds open books
    • Points card:  I will stamp their card for achievements during lesson.  Students are responsible for the card.  Lose it & you start over.
    • Die:  First roll is the section you start with.  Second roll is the number of times you play.
    • Sticker sheet: Use for marking sections OR celebrating achievements.
  • As they become proficient in using the above tools, I will add in different practice aids for their pouches.

Here are the pictures of (most) of the items in the pouches.  I got the items either from The Dollar Tree or what I already had here in the office.  Today, I will be picking up the last of the items to add to the pouches.

Hi, I’m Rosemarie & I’m addicting to buying studio supplies.

And, because I see incapable of walking into a store & purchasing only what is on my studio supply list …

Extra Goodies
Extra Goodies

The Icosahedron is blank which makes it perfect for adding any terms or symbols I would like students to review or use for improvisation in group lessons.  For $1.25 it was a steal & may lead to me purchasing others.

I have a sticker addiction.  My husband has finally stopped asking if I have enough stickers because he gets a look & told that you can NEVER have too many stickers.  (Much like our tea discussion.)  When I saw the Star Wars stickers, I had to get them.  After all, who doesn’t love Star Wars?

What is your focus this year for your studio?

I would love to hear from you below.  What is your focus or goal this year for your students?  And, how are you preparing to guide them in that goal?

Have a great weekend!

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