Music Teacher's Helper Blog

Daily Summaries and Lesson Notes

There are two new features in Music Teacher’s Helper that have made it much more useful in my teaching. Well, they’re not really new, technically, but they have been recently improved by Support so that they work better for me, and hopefully for you as well.

One is the Daily Summary, and the other is the ability to not only reconcile all lessons at once but also to choose to email lesson notes to students from the same window.

These two features play off each other. The reconcile-all window lets me come home from teaching and enter notes about all my lessons at the same time. The daily summary uses those lesson notes the next time each student has a lesson scheduled, and reminds me what each person was working on.

New for Reconciling Lessons

What’s new is that the reconcile-all window allows us to check off whether we wish to email lessons notes to each student. I have found out that my students really like this feature. They receive by email a review of what I thought was most important in their lesson, and they get to read the lesson notes at a time when they can think quietly about it. These notes also clue in parents as to what their kids are working on, keeping them in the loop. The private lesson notes are not emailed to the student, but do appear in the next daily summary for the teacher.

Before the improvement, when I wanted to have lesson notes emailed to students, I had to reconcile each student from a separate window, which took time for opening, scrolling through and closing the window. Using the reconcile-all window instead of individual windows also allows me to review and revise all my notes before reconciling all the lessons at once.

The Daily Summary
The daily summary is a very handy list of lesson times, student names, location, account info, and most importantly, lesson notes from whenever the student last took a lesson. This is really helpful for keeping lessons on track. I especially like the option to have the daily summary emailed to me; this way, I don’t even have to log in to Music Teacher’s Helper to get my schedule.

I print out the daily summary, and review it to see if I need to bring or prepare something for any students that day. Then I use it to make notes about lessons, and at the end of the day, enter the lesson notes into the reconcile window, which are then summoned up for the next daily summary. It’s a cycle that works well.

Fairly new for the daily summary is that it can list lesson notes from classes–lessons which are assigned to more than one student.  This was apparently more difficult for the software to accomplish than it might seem, because it had to find the last time a particular group of students had a lesson together, and then list the notes from that lesson once in the daily summary (as opposed to listing the notes for each student in the class).

Where to Find these Features

The reconcile-all window can be found on the teacher’s home page. When lessons are past, they are listed on the home page as needing reconciliation, and the option is also offered there to reconcile them all at once.

It’s good to know that if you choose “ignore” as the option for any of the lessons, that particular lesson won’t be reconciled, and can be dealt with at another time.

The daily summary is on the Reports menu. It’s the last report on the list, and when you click it, you’ll see the option to check the box to “email me my summary every day.” I recommend it!

Share Your Ideas
As always, please feel free to let us know how you use these or other MTH features, by clicking “Add Comment” below. Feel free also to add comments to any article dating back to October.

Recent Comments Added
Comments have been added this month by Alison on “An Adult Student Dilemma” and by Stephanie on “Practice Charts.”

About the Author

Ed Pearlman
Ed Pearlman has focused on performing, teaching, and judging fiddle music for over 30 years, offering performances and workshops throughout the USA and in Canada and Scotland. His original training was with members of the Chicago and Boston Symphonies, and he played with orchestras and chamber groups at Yale and in Boston. He currently teaches privately in Maine and at workshops around the countr... [Read more]

3 Comments

  1. […] you into each student as you see them.  My own preference is to print the Daily Summmary report (see earlier post for more info on this) and use that sheet as a place to make notes about the current lesson.  You […]

  2. […]  Daily Summaries and Lesson Notes (Ed Pearlman) – tips on using both regular and private lesson notes when reconciling […]

  3. Jean

    I most often reconcile lessons during the lesson itself, usually when the student is sight reading a new piece. I explain the notes to the student. I especially like using the individual option, from the calendar view the week payments are due, as I can click on the payment received box and insert that information and be done!

    I also like reconciling all my lessons at once from either the home page or the reconcile page because things can get hectic during lessons. This allows me to cut and paste particular messages into specific student’s notes. Notes that will be sent to all students are created when I update the template every week. Example of a cut and paste : Nice work this week, no concerns.

    Updating the template weekly is a wonderful way to get messages to parents without having to send multiple emails. Most parents are excited to read what happened during a lesson. When there are important items for parents to see, I highlight them and change the color of text weekly so it is “new”. I always use colors that are characteristic of the week (example green font during St Patrick’s week, red and green at Christmas).

    I also place an event on my calendar (and have a reminder sent to my email) to change the template weekly. This way I never forget. I just recently thought I might save the weekly reminders in the my email templates area of MTH, as some things are repeated yearly 🙂 I have yet to try that.

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