Music Teacher's Helper Blog

Command Central Binder–Manage Your Studio

By Robin Steinweg

Blest be the binder that ties… together the details of my teaching. My Command Central Binder is one of three I’ll keep close this year. They’ll be colorful (because color makes me happy). They’ll be hardy (because I’m hard on them). They’ll be well organized (because I’m order-challenged).

The other two binders will be featured in future posts.

My Command Central binder is the one I need daily. It will help me run my studio smoothly. This information can be found in my computer lesson files. But I like hard copies printed out. I keep them in plastic sheet protectors. Then they don’t rip with continued use.

Command Central, Admin

Command Central Binder

Here are the administrative items I keep in this binder:

  • Calendar, September to June. Kept inside the front cover. Includes teaching days, recitals, breaks.
Studio Calendar

Studio Calendar

  • Daily Schedule. This is all my time slots with students’ names. If I get a meal time, that’s there, too!
  • Schedule of Events, kept inside the back cover. I have this information in Music Teacher’s Helper, but I like having a hard copy.
  • Attendance. First semester on the front, second semester on the back.
  •   Weekly Attendance
  • Financial. Shows when they paid tuition and registration fees. Includes how they paid. Also if they still owe any money. I use Music Teacher’s Helper, so this information can be printed out right from there.
  • Weekly To-Do List. I add to it during lessons. This includes any ideas I get for a student. Songs to look for. A song to compose. A song they like that I should hear. Something I should record and send them.
  • Student Birthdays. Listed by month. I post a copy on the studio bulletin board, too.
  • Current copies of my policies, tuition, and registration forms.
  • Themes for Recitals and Seasons. Includes ideas/links for themes, songs, food, recipes and décor. This will be the first year I don’t do a Christmas recital. I decided to see what happens if I avoid December. My theme is “Sonatinas, Scary Songs & S’More!” Students will learn about sonatinas. They’ll play one in the recital. Their second piece can be a scary song for Halloween. Or I’ll let them choose a Thanksgiving, Christmas, or “whatever” song. I already have a list of Halloween treats and non-messy S’more recipes. If I have no ideas of my own, Wendy Stevens at has a list of 44 themes.  (She also has wonderful music and ideas.)
Themes and Ideas

Themes and Ideas

  • Studio Wish List. Books, computer programs, games, game apps and equipment. Diane Hidy has a list of tools she has found helpful in her own studio. Some of these have found their way onto my wish list. My color printer is one she recommended. I love it! (There is SO much more Diane Hidy has to offer. Her site is one of my favorites.)
  • Group Class Ideas. Themes, games, concepts. Also fun snack ideas. I am always alert for group ideas.
  • Contacts. Piano tuners, instrument repair, local music stores, favorite teachers’ blogs, fellow teachers… If someone gives me their business card, I can staple it to this sheet.
  • Log of Hours. Time spent on students outside of actual face time. I have seldom kept track, and I’m curious how much I really earn per hour!

Do you use something like a Command Central binder? What do you include? If not, what do you use to help you with studio details?

Happy teaching!

About the Author

Robin Steinweg has found music to be like the creamy filling of a sandwich cookie--sweet in the middle--especially making music with family.
A great joy is seeing her students excited to make music for themselves. From her studio in Sauk-Prairie, Wisconsin, she teaches ages 4-84 piano, guitar, voice, woodwinds, ukulele and recorder.
Musically, she composes, arranges, performs, directs, consults... [Read more]


  1. […] post Command Central Binder–Manage Your Studio appeared first on Music Teacher’s Helper […]

  2. KCWComm

    What helpful information! And so many great photos and links so I have all the resources I need at my fingertips, sort of like your “Command Central!” Thanks, Robin!

  3. Robin Steinweg

    Thanks for reading, Kathy! Yup, everything where I can SEE it! 🙂

  4. Carin

    Thanks for all those ideas. I need to implement some of those in my own studio.

  5. Robin Steinweg

    Carin, I’m glad it helps. This binder is a work-in-progress for me, especially since I’m still getting registration forms from students, and a few waiting list families have yet to confirm. Here’s to being better organized!

  6. Heather Korn

    I just have to make a quick comment. I recently shredded every piece of paper in my office and tons of boxes and files went in the trash! Now my office is clean, streamlined and clutter free of nearly 20 years of teaching paperwork. I got a Doxie scanner and scanned everything to flash drive. I moved my huge binder off my piano emptied it and now it holds some other stuff. I moved every teaching file and piece of info to Google drive. Now I can update the info from any device and share with students and parents. I have a Fall Lesson semester Google drive folder that holds all studio information that parents and students can view anytime they want. I no longer have to sit down and type up emails, I just put stuff in the folder and they can access it. My life is so much easier – everyone loves it. I use MTH for tracking all of my attendance in reports. So I am now completely 100% running my studio with Google Drive and MTH. No more paper!! Thanks!

  7. Robin Steinweg

    Good job, Heather! Isn’t it terrific that technology allows such diversity of organization methods?

  8. Susan@ Music Lessons Melbourne

    Thank you so much for sharing about these command central binder manage your studio. I appreciate you sharing about these works and look forward to giving them a try in my own studio!

  9. Robin Steinweg

    Susan, I’m so happy if it helps you. Thanks for reading, and happy teaching!

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