Last week we began a series on Your Desktop Studio. This will be the second installment.
The next items I’d like to discuss are
PAPER CLIPS I have a system of using paper clips that are very useful for my organization of a student’s current work. I have FOUR COLORS of PAPER CLIPS that represent different types of musical work. These paper clips are found in the three green tubs and the glass bowl in the photograph above.
SILVER PAPER CLIPS — Silver Clips are for our general work. They easily identify the pages a student is working on for their weekly lessons. Since a paper clip identifies both sides of a page, I always date the side of the page a student is assigned. For my youngest students, I will always draw a stop sign on the final page of each book we cover in their lesson. They will then know exactly where to end their piano practice at home.
What I often do after a student gets a piece to a “minimum standard level” (notes and rhythms are correct within, for the most part, a steady tempo) I ask the student if they would like to pass the piece or bring the piece to a higher level. Both answers are perfectly acceptable. If a student wants to pass, they know they can move on to a new composition; but if a student enjoys a composition, they know they can continue to play it for the purpose of bringing it to a higher level. Within this upgrading of their performance level, students can also choose to memorize a piece or make the piece a “performance piece”. More on performance pieces later in this article.
RED PAPER CLIPS — Red Clips are put on all pages to be memorized. Again, a quick glance will identify where memory compositions are located in a student’s books. Once a student memorizes a composition, they receive a special sparkly smiley sticker. Again, I don’t expect a rock solid flawless memory to get the smiley sticker. Getting through the composition well, without major hesitations, will demonstrate the student has put forth an effort to deserve a reward for their effort.
BLUE PAPER CLIPS — Blue Clips are used to identify a student’s performance pieces. Performance pieces can be Recital Pieces, Audition Pieces (Guild Pieces), pieces for school or CCD performances, and compositions learned for my Internet Page of Student Performances. My Student Performance page can be found at http://www.pianoteacherpress.com/PLP-StudentPerformances1.html As a fun way to provide safety to the student’s identity I have each student select a “fictitious name”. Their fictitious name is chosen from history or contemporary culture. It’s a very interesting insight into a student’s personality in the fictitious name they choose.
I can also be persuaded to Blue Clip special compositions for major holidays when family members will be coming in town to visit. To earn a performance sticker, a sparkly star, the student must bring the piece to the greatest level I think the student can achieve.
When a student brings a composition they choose for an Internet Performance, they also receive a little Performance Certificate as an added reward for their hard work. The nice thing about the Internet Performances is that a quick eMail to a relative, containing the http://www. address, can bring a family together even if they live on another continent! I have several students that keep in touch this way where the grandparents and aunts and uncles live in India. Parents can also download the performances to make a CD to keep track of how their child improves through the months and years of their piano study.
WHITE PAPER CLIPS — Finally, I use White Clips for those selections that are good compositions to keep on performing, even after they don’t need to be looked at regularly at the weekly piano lessons. Often these will include finger exercises that are particularly useful to a student’s development.
This system makes for a quick organizational tool that both you and your students will find efficient for lessons and practice.