If you’ve ever toyed with the idea of providing piano student assessments for parents… but the idea of writing out pages and pages of comments has prevented you from doing so, this post is for you!
Piano Student Assessment Sheets… and How You Can Do Better
I’ve always found written assessments to be so one-dimensional (and ugh… time consuming!). And, unless your piano students’ parents are also all very musical it’s unlikely that much of what you say will truly hit home. However, parents DO want to know how their children are progressing. Thinking as a business person, it’s a good idea to provide some sort of assessment to parents as knowing their child’s strengths will solidify their commitment to keeping them in lessons.
However, we’re not only in this for the parents! Piano Student assessments should also be meaningful to your student. Seeing one’s own progress is very motivating, and for kids who need a boost of encouragement, a meaningful assessment can make all the difference to their level of interest.
This coming year, I plan on embracing technology; I’m bringing my student assessments into the 21st century. And… I’m going to save myself a heck of a lot of time!
Actions Speak Louder Than Words
Starting next year, I’m going to be providing video assessments of my piano students. If this sounds intimidating consider this: video assessments can be completed within lesson time saving you tonnes of out-of-teaching time hours. Video assessments are effective; even non-musical parents will be able to really see the progress. Video assessments are a lovely keep-sake and are share-able material… what a cool thing to email to Grandma and Grandpa across the country, share on a Facebook page, Tweet about etc! Word of mouth opportunities abound from this way of assessing your students.
How to Produce Piano Student Assessment Videos
Using my smartphone and a video editing program like iMovie, I’m going to create quick and cool assessment videos that are separated into the main categories that I find to be particularly important. My videos will be separated into:
1. “Look What I Can Do”: A recording of my piano student playing the piece they are currently working on, and answering questions pertaining to that particular piece (ie. what key is this piece in? Can you show me the primary chords in this piece? What accidentals do you see in this piece etc.)
2. Practicing and Performing: My piano student doing one of the following a) announcing number of days they have practiced up to that point in the year or b) completing a fun practice activity, and then briefly listing what performances they have participated in up to that point.
3. Composing: My piano student performing their latest original composition and answering 2 questions about the methods they used. Looking for a cool composing method?… Check this out!
You’ll need to video each piano student at 3 times during the year (very first lesson, 6 months later and last lesson of your spring term).
In the Editing Room
Keep. It. Simple. Here’s a template I’ve created to give you an idea of what it could look like. There are place holders in the spaces where you would upload your student’s videos, but this gives you an idea of what it could look like. Come the end of year (and the busiest time in your studio) all you need to do is publish the video and email it to the parents! I timed myself and this template took just over 9 minutes to create. Once it’s done you literally use the same template for each student and simply drag in the appropriate video clips.
Meaningful End-of-Year Assessments for Piano Students
The wonderful thing about video assessments is they are understood by everyone. Parents with no piano background will be able to clearly see the progression. Your piano students will have a meaningful keep-sake of their year in piano lessons with you, and everyone involved will be motivated to create next year’s video!
Anyone with a smart phone can save themselves hours and hours of writing comments that are read and then recycled. Give it a try!
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