You dash through their favorite pieces of the week, introduce or review a concept with a fun activity, then sight read through a new piece when you glance up at the clock and realize you’re over time already! Parents are waiting outside the door and it’s time for the next student, yet you haven’t even touched theory or technique today. Does this happen to any of you?

I know it happens to me all the time. One thing that has helped is for me to set goals with the student using technique charts. When students accomplish certain 5 finger patterns, or scales, arpeggios, etc. we check them off on charts. Then when they finish a chart, they can choose something from the prize basket. Once students are motivated to finish a chart, they help me remember technique during the lesson each week!

For my students, I’ve made charts such as the one in this picture to the right. As we color in a key each week, the student can see the progress they’ve made in technique.  This chart is a beginner chart – for my students it’s their first level of technique.  In my studio, we use this chart for Major and minor 5 finger patterns. Knowing what’s ahead, I like to help students get used to seeing the keys move in a circle even before they figure out why the circle is even important.

If you like mine, you’re welcome to use it for personal use. Please download the pdf here: TechLevel1Birds

So what do you like to use for technique charts? Any great tips you’ve found to motivate your students’ technique?

P.S. If you are looking for more inspiration, take a look at the darling “Vobot” coloring page done by Wendy Chan at Piano Escapades.

Author: Whitney

Whitney Hawker, NCTM, teaches group and private piano at Weber State University, Utah. She loves surprising students with the perfect piece or a new exciting game! After graduate school, she missed sharing ideas and resources daily with colleagues so she and her friend, Spring, began blogging together at