Music Teacher's Helper Blog

Reporting on Student Progress

As the end of the Australian school year quickly approaches I have found myself once again writing reports for each of my students. Giving each student a progress report is something that I had not considered in my private studio until I expanded my teaching practice into schools and was required to write reports every 6 months. I now do this in my private studio as well, with very positive results.

There are great benefits for students, parents and teachers that come from taking the time to reflect and report on student progress. Some of the benefits include –

  • Reports give parents valuable feedback and insight into the process of learning an instrument. This often enables parents to assist their children in undertaking more focused practice sessions.
  • Reports highlight student achievement (performances, exams, competitions).
  • Reports allow students to reflect on how far they have progressed in the past 6 months.
  • Reports give teachers an opportunity to reflect on student progress and assess the areas that need attention in the next phase of learning.

There are many formats and ways of reporting. I have designed a report template that has some check boxes at the top, followed by an area to list student achievement and participation, and a section at the bottom of the page for general comments.

The first section of the report consists of check boxes showing the general level of achievement for various elements of playing, including technique, posture, organisation, practice, aural skills, tone production and note reading skills.

The second section of the report allows me to list activities in which students have participated, including concerts, competitions, exams and accompanying.

The final section of the report allows for general comments. In this section of the report I always begin with a positive comment on the student’s progress, then I comment on areas that need focus and attention in the future, and once again end with a positive comment.

I would love to hear how other teachers use reporting in their studios. Please feel free to leave a comment below.

About the Author

Nicole Murphy
Nicole Murphy is a pianist and composer residing in Queensland, Australia. She has been teaching both piano and composition privately and in schools for over 8 years, with students currently ranging in age from four years to eighty-five years. She holds a Bachelor of Music (Honours Class I) from the Queensland Conservatorium of Music and is currently working towards a Masters of Music. As a freela... [Read more]


  1. Stephanie

    Frankly, I think if parents would take the time to come in a child’s lesson, they would not need so much official, time-taking feedback reports.

  2. Nick

    I never thought of making report cars for private students. But I can see how they could help the student (and the parent) take their private lessons a little more seriously.

  3. Jael Strong

    I never thought of creating a progress report for my students. I do write weekly in their notebooks with a bit of feedback and I try to give the parents verbal feedback, but I think that a regular progress report may help to motivate some students to reach their portential.

    Of course, I agree with Stephanie. My parents weren’t clueless about my progress because they were actively involved in my musical education. I have often thought that parents might benefit from a mini-seminar teaching them how to be part of their child’s musical progress.

  4. Ms Jean

    I think that MTH has the perfect tool for weekly feedback by reconcyling lessons. This allows teacher to address issues and progress as it is happening, vs at the end of the year when it may be too late.

    I still think that a yearly progress report might be greatly appreciated by some, especially if one is able to give concrete advice on what generally needs the most work. Such details might be missed in weekly lesson notes (they are typed quickly in my studio).

  5. Jaci

    I really like this idea. I have tried having the parent sit in on the lesson, but a lot of the time the parents doesn’t realize the full improvement since most of them have never had another student to compare the progress to. My struggle has been getting a few parents to realize what an impact continuous lack of practice makes…and this may be a very “in your face” yet professional approach. Not to mention how much more serious it makes us look as teachers.

    I would love to see an example report if that is a possibility. I am definitely going to be doing this.

  6. Suzanne Lichtenstein

    Nicole, would you be willing to post the report card form that you use? I really like this idea, but need ideas for what to list and grade.

    By the way, the parents do attend my students’ lessons–it is a mandatory requirement in my studio. But, even so, the parents often have no idea what’s really involved in learning an instrument. They can hear me say over and over how important practicing is, or how important listening to well-played examples is, or how important posture is, etc., but still not implement the changes at home. I think a report card could really help them, by helping them know how to help their children.

    So, thank you for writing this article.

  7. Kate Norris


    We offer private tuition for all ages for many instruments, based in Cornwall, England. I am the vocal tutor. I wonder if you would consider emailing me the templates of the report card you use?? We are keen to get reports in in the next fortnight but we can’t find the right template that we feel we can use.

    Kate Norris

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