Music Teacher's Helper Blog

Some Tips for the Studio – Supplies & Decor

I trust you are all enjoying your Christmas break!  For me, Christmas is a special time to spend with my family celebrating the birth of my Lord.  I’d like to wish you all a very merry Christmas.   🙂

This time off means an opportunity to reevaluate the supplies on hand and the organization of everything needed on a day-to-day basis on any given teaching day.

Eliminating the Clutter…
A method I’ve had to adopt is one that simply says, “be critical”… if a book or piece of music or teaching aid or organizational system that you have not used or applied in the last year is in your studio, get rid of it.  Find someone who can benefit from those things you no longer use.  Donate the music, electronics, or storage to a charity or deliver it to a Goodwill store.

Often, by this time of year, I’ve accumulated more than I need in the studio and certainly more than I will ever have the time to implement in my teaching.

Some things to keep on hand…
Of course, your piano!  Whether this is a grand, upright, or keyboard (hopefully not the only instrument you use), it needs to be serviced regularly and tuned by a professional 1-2x/year.
Many teachers opt to keep a supply of commonly used method books in various levels on hand for at least two reasons: *when a student forgets a book, you are easily able to say, “oh!  I have that book waiting just for you… let’s go to the pages you were supposed to work on this week.”  *having the books on hand help with lesson planning.  Unless you provide & invoice books to your students as needed, there is no reason to have more than one copy of each book.

Always have a metronome within easy reach.  Other aids, such as posters, flashcards, white boards, and manuscript paper are useful tools to keep on hand.

Files & Mailboxes…
Each of the families in my studio has a mailbox, the inexpensive Office Depot files (see http://www.officedepot.com/a/products/576120/Eldon-Recycled-Stackable-Letter-Trays-Side/) in which I keep any papers to give my students or notes to remember for future lessons… to be referenced throughout the week as needed.

I also keep two sturdy file boxes beside the piano for easy access to their application policies (organized by student) and any note naming worksheets, composer research, or practice strategies commonly used.

Bulletin Board…
A fun feature which everyone has enjoyed thus far, is the bulletin board hanging on the wall of the entryway.  On it, I have a fun poster with everyone’s birthdays displayed.  I also have a “Student of the Month” poster on which are questions the special student answers.  We also put a picture of that student on the poster for a time – I had the poster laminated and use only white-board markers, which can be erased easily (all supplies are available at http://www.learningpalace.com/).  Also, with the Practice Log, a great feature through Music Teacher’s Helper, I create a list of “top practicing students” and display each students’ name on a separate “Star Student” bulletin star and string them across the top with miniature clothes pins and string in order from the student who logged the most practice time to the least practice time.

In Closing…
I hope these ideas have helped someone.  I am always looking for new inspiration, so feel free to comment with suggestions.  I hope to post pictures here soon of the different mentioned areas of my studio.  Please let me know if this would be helpful.  🙂  And, have a very blessed, merry Christmas!

About the Author

Kristin Phillips
Kristin has been studying piano since the age of 6 and with the guidance of her family and teachers, began teaching others by 14. After pursuing pedagogy in piano and business administration for a short time - to be continued at a later time, she transferred to studying church music ministry at Portland Bible College. She enjoys editing her website, writing in her spare time, teaching piano stud... [Read more]

5 Comments

  1. Ronnie Currey

    Thanks Kristin

    Thanks for your article. I am a procrastinator and your article motivated me. I read your article to my wife, and we will both clean up the clutter and clean up the bulletin board that has outdated information on it. Your “mailbox” suggestion is great and I plan to implement it! I look forward for your articles and fresh ideas. Thanks again for the great ideas.

  2. Craig Tompkinsc

    Wonderful ideas Kristin!

    I’m using this holiday break to declutter both my at home office and my studio at the conservatory and to install a large bulletin board and white board at the studio.

    I use a file cabinet that combines both aspects of your mailbox system & file boxes where each student has their own file all arranged by day and lesson time. There, are kept all the bits and pieces that students/parents need: filled in and signed registration and studio policy forms; worksheets for theory, diction, song preparation; sheet music; listening lists; vocal health handouts; newsletter; registration forms for coming events: auditions, workshops and recitals; things that students have left (music, practice prescription, CDs etc.). Of course not each file gets a copy of everything! When I have to do a blanket distribution, materials go on a small table next to the door.

    Cheers,
    Craig

  3. Linda Smith

    Thanks for the ideas. I’ve been looking for more ideas on how to organize my library of music so I can find it in under a minute. I would welcome any suggestions.

  4. Stephanie

    I personally love love banker boxes! They are very cheap and I can not only orgnize my music by level and genre, but I can pick it up and take it anywhere!

  5. Kristin Phillips

    Thank you, everyone, for your feedback! 🙂 I actually recently (in December) purchased a different type of mail sorting filing system for my studio and I LOVE it. I have included teh link from Amazon.com = http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000083D45/ref=oss_T15_product. The cost, if you get it from an individual seller, is about $80.00. I highly recommend it. I have been able to keep track of student’s files and the papers I need to give them periodically better than ever. It also looks very nice in the entry way. 🙂

    Have a great year 2010!
    ~Kristin Phillips

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