Studio Organization and Decor – written in 2008

I trust you are all enjoying your Christmas break (2008)!  For me, Christmas is a special time to spend with my family celebrating the birth of my Lord.  I’d like to wish you all a very merry Christmas.   :)

This time off means an opportunity to reevaluate the supplies on hand and the organization of everything needed on a day-to-day basis on any given teaching day.

Eliminating the Clutter…
A method I’ve had to adopt is one that simply says, “be critical”… if a book or piece of music or teaching aid or organizational system that you have not used or applied in the last year is in your studio, get rid of it.  Find someone who can benefit from those things you no longer use.  Donate the music, electronics, or storage to a charity or deliver it to a Goodwill store.

Often, by this time of year, I’ve accumulated more than I need in the studio and certainly more than I will ever have the time to implement in my teaching.

Some things to keep on hand…
Of course, your piano!  Whether this is a grand, upright, or keyboard (hopefully not the only instrument you use), it needs to be serviced regularly and tuned by a professional 1-2x/year.
Many teachers opt to keep a supply of commonly used method books in various levels on hand for at least two reasons: *when a student forgets a book, you are easily able to say, “oh!  I have that book waiting just for you… let’s go to the pages you were supposed to work on this week.”  *having the books on hand help with lesson planning.  Unless you provide & invoice books to your students as needed, there is no reason to have more than one copy of each book.

Always have a metronome within easy reach.  Other aids, such as posters, flashcards, white boards, and manuscript paper are useful tools to keep on hand.

Files & Mailboxes…
Each of the families in my studio has a mailbox, the inexpensive Office Depot files (see http://www.officedepot.com/a/products/576120/Eldon-Recycled-Stackable-Letter-Trays-Side/) in which I keep any papers to give my students or notes to remember for future lessons… to be referenced throughout the week as needed.  (update… later, after writing this post, I purchased the following from Amazon and have been VERY pleased with it for over 2 years so far… http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000083D45/ref=oss_T15_product).  My students know how to retrieve their materials, books, and papers.  When we need to store something there temporarily (a week or two), they know exactly where to put the material while I’m writing assignments in their notebooks.  It’s a system that works, and I’m so glad!  :)

I also keep two sturdy file boxes beside the piano for easy access to their application policies (organized by student) and any note naming worksheets, composer research, or practice strategies commonly used.

Bulletin Board…
A fun feature which everyone has enjoyed thus far, is the bulletin board hanging on the wall of the entryway.  On it, I have a fun poster with everyone’s birthdays displayed.  I also have a “Student of the Month” poster on which are questions the special student answers.  We also put a picture of that student on the poster for a time – I had the poster laminated and use only white-board markers, which can be erased easily (all supplies are available at http://www.learningpalace.com/).  Also, with the Practice Log, a great feature through Music Teacher’s Helper, I create a list of “top practicing students” and display each students’ name on a separate “Star Student” bulletin star and string them across the top with miniature clothes pins and string in order from the student who logged the most practice time to the least practice time.

In Closing…
I hope these ideas have helped someone.  I am always looking for new inspiration, so feel free to comment with suggestions.  I hope to post pictures here soon of the different mentioned areas of my studio.  Please let me know if this would be helpful.  :)   And, have a very blessed, merry Christmas!

One thought on “Studio Organization and Decor – written in 2008

  1. My! How things change & get updated. :) One of the main updates… rather than use a $20 or $30 metronome these days, I use a free app I’ve downloaded on my phone. Do you all know about those apps? If not, give it a search! Or post a comment here & I’ll walk you through the steps. I’m going to update this post someday… but for now, I’m still trying to make up my mind on the visual & storage & organizational details for the new school year. :) What are you doing to organize your studios?

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