Music Teacher's Helper Blog

Student Files Binder

Three binders I keep within reach daily. My Student Files Binder is the most important. It holds my most precious commodity: my students!

Studio Binders

Studio Binders

Last month I posted about the binder that ties together the administrative details of my studio. My Command Central. You might say it’s my administrative assistant. (It works closely with my Music Teacher’s Helper account, which is my executive administrative assistant!)

But the Student Files Binder is the safe containing the jewels.

Students--my treasures

Students–my treasures

Here’s what I keep inside:

Inside the Student Files binder

Inside the front cover I keep my waiting list. Potential future “jewels!” I can simply print out the list from Music Teachers Helper. But the rest of this binder is for my current students.

Each student has two or more pages. I organize them alphabetically. I could organize by schedule. But sometimes they swap with others for sports seasons. This is easier.

Note: I have a locking file, where others can’t peek in case of sensitive or private information.


Students' Personal Info

Student Files Binder—include the Student Information Sheet from registration:

  • Contact information.
  • School & grade (or occupation, for adult students).
  • Health—allergies, vision, learning issues.
  • Emotional issues that could affect performance.
  • Family members.
  • Hobbies, favorite books, movies, music, pastimes.
  • Extra-curricular activities, team sports, etc.
  • Photo—my first year for this—a thumbnail photo. (Funny thing happened to me one year. I had six little girls start lessons at the same time. They were the same age. Same build. Same hair color. They spoke alike, had similar mannerisms. On top of that, their mothers looked alike. For a few months I couldn’t tell them apart! If they had swapped lesson times without telling me, I’d never have known. That’s why I’m including a photo, now that I have a Canon MX920 series color printer.)

The second page shows:

  • The type of lesson. I teach multiple instruments plus voice. Some students take more than one.
  • The students’ goals and needs.
  • Progress.
  • Areas especially needing improvement.
  • Games or activities already attempted.
  • What to try in future lessons. (Include where to find them. A link, if they come from other teachers. A note if they are in my Games & Activities Binder, which I’ll post about here at MTH blog on October 28.)
  • Anecdotes to share with parents or for-my-eyes-only.
  • My assessment and observations for the following areas:
  • Note reading.
  • Sight-reading.
  • Theory.
  • Rhythm.
  • Expression.
  • Performance.
  • Technique.
  • Composition.
  • Improvisation.
  • Scales & arpeggios.
  • Repertoire.

Include an Excel chart with when and how the items above were addressed.

If I get an idea during a lesson, a few words next to the listed area is all I need. It’s part of my normal weekly prep time.


My Student Files binder, along with my two other studio binders, sharpens me to be more intentional about teaching. It helps me remember that brilliant idea from last week’s lesson.

Student Files Binder

Student Files binder

What would you keep in your Student Files? Do you have a good way to track your students’ needs and progress? We’d love to hear!

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 Comment

  1. Student Files Binder | Maria Candelaria Rosales

    […] post Student Files Binder appeared first on Music Teacher’s Helper […]

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