This blog will be the third installment of Your Desktop Studio; the items I ALWAYS have within reach while teaching my lessons.
CALENDAR – The calendar is an item that I assume most teachers have at an eyes glance in their teaching environment. Having a calendar, to me, gives my eyes an immediate perspective for arranging things as make-up lessons. It is also a good reminder to show students that a recital is only days away and that their next lesson will be the LAST LESSON before the recital. It’s also good for getting a quick look in finding good times for parents wanting to schedule summer lesson times. Just looking at a calendar sometimes jogs a parents memory as to summer vacations and camps that help us determine that a Friday is really the best day for lessons because there will be fewer conflicts with other planned events.
HAND SANITIZER – This item is a must. When students come to lessons with a cold I always give them a squirt of hand sanitizer after they sneeze or clean their nose. I think this is a normal procedure in the public schools to as they seem to automatically give me their hands at these appropriate moments. Parents seem to have a sense of comfort in knowing their is at least an attempt going on to limit the spread of germs.
CLEANER FOR GLASSES – Young children just do not take to keeping their glasses clean and free of smudges. Frankly, I’m amazed that some of them can see at all! When I notice a student’s glasses are smudged (or worse) I try to instill in them the need to proper care for their glasses. I clean their glasses for them with a glass cleaner specially designed for glasses and a cloth specially designed to prevent scratches from forming on their lenses. After putting their glasses back in their heads they always respond with a “WOW!! I CAN SEE!!”. Hopefully, the example of proper care of glasses will give students the incentive to develop a good habit.
ASPIRIN – Anyone who works with teaching for long hours is apt to get a headache now and again so it’s important to keep your pain killer of choice handy. I put the aspirin in an inconspicuous place. I would rather students see my pencils and pens (and glasses cleaner) than a bottle of aspirin. Power of association, you know.
HIGHLIGHTERS – When I was a student teachers marked everything with a red or blue colored pencil. I had one piano teacher in particular that LOVED to mark my music. At my first lesson he told me he required me to memorize all my pieces. After a couple lessons I understood why; after marking my music to thoroughly I couldn’t see the notes. This teacher helped me have no qualms to writing in my students books. However, I find that highlighters often to the job much more effectively than colored pencils.
For example – if a student is just getting used to Key Signatures and has difficulty remembering F# for the Key of G using a highlighter to highlight all the F’s in the score is much more effective than writing a sharp symbol before each F. Also, the fact that the highlighting is still “symbolic” it jogs the students memory that they are to remember something at all the highlighted places in their score. The highlighting makes for an intermediate step to the student, where writing out the sharp basically delays the inevitable time when one depends upon the Key Signature alone.
For a thorough explanation on the use of highlighters read my blog article on HIGHLIGHT YOUR TEACHING. This concludes all the information I have out in the open, but what about what’s kept in all those shelves? Stay tuned, or better yet, subscribe to Blogging at Piano Teacher Press.