by Jamey Mann, Catoctin School of Music
With all disciplines there are many small/basic items that a student needs to utilize for success. These items are not the glamorous new instrument or sound effect, but the everyday, organizational office items that can make a huge difference in a students’ progress. These items include whole punches, tape, stapler, liquid paper, pencils, folder, sticky notes, etc.
However, the most important item that a student needs for organization is a good quality, hard cover, three ring one inch binder. On the list of items I ask student to acquire, the binder is most is important and what I ask to see every lesson. Although most important, it is often the most overlooked item. Students will acquire all items on the list, leaving the binder for last, if it is acquired at all.
Why a Music Binder? The answer is simple:
- For organizational purposes! Although many teachers use a method book of some kind this is not the only item a teacher will give their student for a lesson. Teacher often use supplemental material from other sources. For every page assigned from a method book there will be at least one or two other supplemental handouts to go along with that assignment. These need to be kept organized and they need to come back every lesson.
- Teaches Organizational Skills! With young students it important to teach them organizational skills. Using a binder to show how to organize homework assignments, assignment sheets, and take notes is a great way to teach them this skill. Students can personalize their binders over time to suit their needs and their teacher’s needs. This is a skill that often crosses over into other disciplines and schoolwork.
- It’s for your teacher too! Private music teachers can have many hours a week of teaching students of different ages, skill levels and instruments. Although many try to keep notes on their students’ progress it can get difficult. When a teacher is writing down an assignment it not just for the student at home. It is so the teacher can keep track of the students’ progress and direction of lessons. Without a binder to help keep track of progress, lessons can become less productive.
- For Recitals and other Performances! Being organized from the beginning often helps students when it comes to performances. Having all the music they are going to perform in a centralized location helps to alleviate some performance anxiety. It also helps secure the music on windy days and provides a backer when bright stage lights hit the music. A binder also looks far more professional than playing with loose pieces of paper or a method book.
The most important thing next to practicing your instrument is being organized. If students do not have a method for keeping track of their assignments and progress, their passion for practice may wane. So go get that binder today and get yourself set up for success!!