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 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.
- 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.
- 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 ComposeCreate.com has a list of 44 themes. (She also has wonderful music 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?