A recent discussion at PianoTeaching.com’s Piano Club focused on the different kinds of assignment sheets teachers use for their students. I thought I’d share mine and say a few words about the kinds of assignments I make.
You can find the sheet in pdf format on my Teaching Materials page. I made the sheet in Pages, and I type directly into the form in that application. I create a separate page for each lesson. At the end of each lesson, I print the sheet out and add it to the student’s binder. I like doing this because it gives me a quick and easy way of having two copies of the assignment – one for the student and one for me. I always refer to these when planning lessons to review what was done previously, and if a student ever loses theirs, I can always email a quick copy of it to the parents.
As you might notice – like my flash cards, the assignment sheet is pretty minimal. This gives me a lot of flexibility in what I write, and it forces me to give clear, concise instructions.
The assignment sheet is only one part of the information a student gets, though. The assignment sheet is a quick and easy note stating expected goals and giving a few suggestions on practicing.
The assignment sheet usually gives simple instructions and refers to measure numbers in the score. Examples of things I write are: ”check rhythm in mm. 30 and 38″ and “bring the tempo of the B section up to mm=132.” I don’t put much detail in the assignment sheet, but that doesn’t mean I don’t give detailed instructions – for that, we go to the score. The details are written in the score itself, and often, I’ll have students write their own instructions on the music – fingering, rhythm, legato, etc…
So that’s pretty much it – a few instructions from me on a single piece of paper with a checklist and 3 boxes, and a bunch of markings in the score to highlight the details.