Over the last semester I became dissatisfied with my current assignment sheet method – just writing everything out on a piece of notebook paper and writing a mini practice chart at the bottom of the page each week. I believe that assignment sheets are very important, because I believe that practicing well is vital to a student’s success in piano…but, I hate spending so much time writing in a lesson. And I also hate when I know that a student hasn’t glanced at their assignment sheet all week. One week I left hidden messages in the assignment sheet saying “If you read this, ask me for a treat next week.” As you guessed, only about half of my students got a treat, and the others missed out. So how do we get our students to read their assignment sheets and actually practice what it says to practice? My first step to try and achieve this is creating a new assignment sheet. I’m going to require that all my students get a 3 ring binder for the fall that I can put this in to write on each week. A completed assignment sheet for the week would look something like this:
And hopefully it would come back the next week looking something like this:
I wanted the assignment sheet to be clear and functional. Marking off each piece everyday may seem like a lot, but I think it’s really needed. Otherwise, we have no idea if the ten minutes was all spent on one piece, 10 pieces, or just playing around at the piano. I like having the circle of fifths included, so that students can start to see the relationship of keys, even when they are just playing 5-finger patterns. In the box that says “I read this week’s assignment sheet:” I intend to ask parents to read over the assignment sheet outloud with their child after the lesson, maybe in the car on the way home, or right when they get home. They can then either initial the box, or put a sticker in the box (which I will send home with them). I got this idea from Philip Johnston’s book “The Practice Revolution” which I talk about in this post. I also wanted a way to write a specific note to the parents, and a place that they could respond if needed, that why I included to two boxes at the top right. If you like my assignment sheet, here’s a free printable for you to download:
Update, August 2015:
I’ve had several requests for the Word file of this assignment sheet so that you can tweet it as needed for your own purposes. The Word file was lost (oh no!) but for you, our dear readers, I have re-created it! I made a couple small changes, but now you can change it on your own as well. I hope this is helpful!
Spring Seals, NCTM, teaches 60 piano students ranging from age 3 to 70 in Fort Worth, Texas. She also serves as the Director of Certification for TMTA. She is passionate about helping teachers become more effective in their studios through professional development, new resources, and fresh ideas.