This one’s for all piano teachers! Or really any and all music educators out there.
Here are my must-haves in my piano teaching bag.
What would I do without my planner?! I use this to keep my schedule organized, but also as a record of what we will be working on in the lesson that day/what we worked on last week. This includes the page number of the lesson book we’re working on! Before I started doing this, time was wasted just trying to flip to the page we were working on last week (assuming the lesson book wasn’t already opened to the correct page because….ahem…the student should have been practicing). This seems minor, but personally saves me a lot of time and mild frustration. Anyone who has worked with young children knows they will dawdle, especially if it’s something they don’t want to do, so if I’m on my game and remember exactly where we left off and have the plan for today’s lesson, things go super smoothly and we still have time for fun!
This correlates with what I said in #1…I usually have back-ups of the students’ books in my bag! Yes, this makes my bag pretty heavy at times, but our lessons run smoothly when we have all the right materials. Sometimes life happens and the student forgets their books (or their parents forget to put them in their backpacks…we’ve all been there!). This was helpful when I was working at a school in their aftercare program, and also when I’m traveling to students’ homes for lessons. Even when I come to their houses, some students would need to use my backup lesson books because a) they took their book somewhere else and left it there (they’re just kids, it’s gonna happen) or b) they haven’t actually ordered or received the book they need. Sometimes I pull things from other piano books anyway, and it was helpful to have those materials with me to be ultra prepared!
Back-ups again, I say! It’s so helpful to have extra copies of sheet music, and to have a variety of sheet music options for my students, especially when it comes time to pick recital pieces, or fun holiday pieces. I have a few file folders in my bag with various sheet music categories and skill levels and try to update them every now and then.
Dry Erase Board
My dry erase board has one side that’s blank, and another that has a grand staff. This is so fun to use during lessons when we’re doing some notespelling, practicing drawing our music notes, sight-reading, or if we want to write down a list of what we’ll be doing in our lessons (it helps some students to have extra structure and a schedule to follow). It’s fun to have as a time-filler at the end of lessons too, just for fun or for more practice reading music!
Highlighters + Stickers
I usually have some pens/pencils/whiteboard markers thrown in the bag somewhere too. However, these are both essentials because highlighters help us annotate our music and stickers are given as rewards for practice! I like to carry a plethora of fun stickers (smileys, Disney characters, unicorns, etc.) that way my littlest students have some incentive to practice each week to get their stickers!
That’s my teaching bag! How about you? What else do you include in your teaching bag that I didn’t mention here? Those of you that have studios or teach from your home, what do you have in your home office or studio that you use in lessons that are great to have handy?
Thanks for reading!
Molly Harrell, MT-BC