I like to be very organized.  I like to be on top of everything my students need to learn.  I like to always meet my deadlines.  I’d like it if I am never to blame for my student’s lack of preparation!  I like all of these things, yet I realize that I need a lot of help in making these things happen for every student.  I’ve tried many methods for doing this through the years, and I’ve finally found one that seems to work for me.  Several teachers from one of the online forums asked me to share more about this, hence this post.

This is not an elaborate system, nor is it one which you can buy.  It won’t work for every teacher, but perhaps you can get some ideas about how to set up your own system to highlight the things that are important to you.  You won’t be able to see all of the things I use this system for in my screenshots, so here is a list of things that I monitor with my current system.

Things I track with this system:

  • Theory – The table helps me make sure that I do not miss any concepts, that appropriate review and drilling is successful, and that understanding occurs.
  • Ear Training – Since I do not do this every lesson, this system helps me make sure I assign web based ear training projects regularly, drill certain concepts when needed, and keep track of how the student does when these concepts are introduced.
  • General Progress – When I make notes during and directly after each student’s lesson, I am much better at remembering what needs to go into the next week’s lesson plan.
  • Lesson Planning – I spend time each week planning for each student: what we need to review, new concepts we need to cover, etc.  Sometimes I lesson plan at the end of the lesson day and other times, I wait until the day before their lesson. Since I take careful notes from the previous week, I can be sure that I don’t forget any thing.
  • Missed lessons/general comments – If I have a student who misses a lot of lessons, who struggles with their attitude, who continues to show a lack of progress because they are not doing as I ask, I keep track of this in my weekly notes so that I can give the parent a detailed report of what is happening and how it has been happening.  Dismissing a student is never easy, but if the problems are well documented, it is much easier for me to take these facts to the parent to explain the dismissal.
  • Potential Repertoire – For intermediate students, I often make a list of repertoire that I think they will like or that I want to make sure they learn during the year.
  • Yearly Progress Reports – These notes help me prepare a progress report.  It is amazing how many things I forget that the student has accomplished when I read through the years’ notes.

A Sample Progress Sheet

On the right is a screen shot of one of my student’s progress sheets.  Student Progress Sheet PDF to see it more clearly.  Here are a few things to note:

  • The first table contains a list of the theory and ear training concepts that are part of this students level for our state assessment test.  On this page of my website, you can see that there is a web activity, downloadable worksheet for every one of these concepts.  My students are assigned a new “Web Activity” or “Web Reward” to do each week and I write their score in the table to track their progress.  You can obviously place anything in this table!
  • The second table is where I list the pieces I think would be good for this student and the pieces this student has told me she wants to learn at some time.
  • The rest of the sheet contains from her weekly lessons.  I make notes during her lesson and at the end of her lesson so that I do not forget what I want to say.
  • Anything in red is what I will be doing the next week.  I like to use red so that it jumps out at me when I open the computer during the student’s lesson.

Equipment Needed

I use Google Docs (free to anyone with a gmail account) to create these progress sheets so that I can access them any where I have internet access including my local music store, a convention, Starbucks, etc.  While I could have a separate document for each student, I actually have all my student’s progress recording in the same document.

I use a laptop because I need to have the computer right next to me during the lesson.

The most difficult thing in implementing this system has been to just remember to look at the computer at every lesson and to make myself takes notes right away when I think of something.  Once I got used to this, it was simple and effective for me.

What about you?

What do you you use to keep track of your student’s progress?