Evaluating Piano Student Progress

“What is measured gets improved” Peter Drucker

Evaluating Piano Student Progress

The school year is drawing to a close. The kids are counting down the days, so are their teachers.

For most piano teachers this means year-end recitals and getting ready for the summer teaching schedule.  For school-aged students, the end of the school year is a milestone. They receive year-end grades and test scores. Children get promoted (hopefully) or move on to new schools.

Yes, indeed though we are only halfway through the calendar year the end of school is a time of transition. A time to reflect on progress made during the year gone by and look forward to the future. A time for students to take a look at what they have accomplished and evaluate themselves. A time to celebrate what they have done well and plan to make future improvements. The perfect time for evaluating piano student progress.

As a teacher, this information is useful for me as well. I want to make sure I am teaching all the skills and concepts necessary for my students to become accomplished musicians. (Of course, not every category is applicable to every student.)

 

Assignment Book

I have each student keep an assignment that we write in each week. This makes it easy to go back and see what has been assigned and completed.

 

Progress Worksheet

 

I use this worksheet to help with evaluating piano student progress.

 

 

 

 

 

Here are some of the things to look at when evaluating piano student progress,

  1. Technique-Make a list of the scales, arpeggios, and technical exercises that have been covered. How many can be played from memory?
  2. Repertoire-List the pieces you have learned to completion. List any accompanying or ensemble playing you have done.
  3. Music Theory-Make a list of music theory concepts learned throughout the year. Include things like musical terms, key and time signatures, musical form or any other music theory that may have been learned. Ear training can be included in this list.
  4. Music reading-Compare your reading skills with your reading skills at the beginning of the school year. Notice any improvement you have made in your sight-reading level.
  5. Musicianship-Consider any general musicianship skills you have worked on or improved throughout the year such as. Learning to play using chords, improvisation, playing by ear, or composition.
  6. Music History/Listening-What did you learn about composers, genres, and/or periods of music history? Make a list you have probably learned much more than you realize.
  7. Performances/Festivals-Have you played in performances of any kind? Recitals or church services? How about accompanying? Have you made any recordings or videos of your playing?

 

Evaluating piano student progress may be surprising,

I’ll bet that your student will probably be surprised (hopefully pleasantly surprised) at how much has been accomplished throughout the school year. For some students, this may be a “reality check” letting them know that they need to work a little harder in the future.

Lastly, the end of this school year is an opportunity to set goals for the summer and for the coming school year. You may want to let your students take a week to consider what goals are important to them. Ask them to imagine where they might be with their playing at this time next year.

At the next lesson sit down with your students, go through the skills listed above and set some goals. With younger students, you may want mom or dad to weigh in while setting goals for the coming year.

Keep the Piano Progress Sheet in front of the student’s notebook. At the end of the next school year take it out and see how this year went.

 

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The Value of Independent Piano Work

 

My goal as a teacher is to make myself unnecessary. I am happiest when I see my alumni playing music they have learned without my help. However, getting students to that point is a complicated process. There is so much to teach and learn. I have come to believe in the value of independent piano work to ensure that my students are indeed becoming self-sufficient musicians. After self-sufficient is what I am going for. Passing on the lifelong gift of music.

Continue reading “The Value of Independent Piano Work”