One of my piano students is currently prepping for her Grade 5 RCM exam. Every week she drags in a pile of books… everything from repertoire, studies and sight reading to technical exercises, supplementary repertoire and more… what a heap!
She has a binder, but because she’s using so many required books, it wasn’t really doing it’s job. She has a technical exercise book… but because it’s one of many books, I had a sneaking suspicion it was getting lost in the shuffle and ignored during home practice… as were her scales, triads and arpeggios.
Managing a mountain of materials just wasn’t working for her. And because the lead-up to an exam is no time for technical work to get lost in any kind of shuffle, we came up with a solution together.
Today I thought we’d share it with all of you as a printable!
Terrific Technique Cards
Late one night after her lesson (why is everything I do seem to be “late one night”?!) I did up a quick sheet of of all her required scales, triads and arpeggios.
I threw the information I had gathered into a card template, printed it, and cut out the technique cards. A quick trip to Staples the next morning for a “business card page protector” (Hello Friendly Staples Employee… Yes, that’s right, I’m here again!) and I had a system that was not only organized, but pretty cool.
To save you a late night, we’re sharing the printables for your own set of Terrific Technique Cards (included is every commonly-played major and minor key so you have all your bases covered!) We can’t save you yet another trip to Staples for the holder, but you can order them online!
How To Use Your Terrific Technique Cards
My system is simple. The business card holder I picked up form Staples is a clear plastic sheet with card-sized dividers. This gets clipped into your piano students’ 3-ring binders.
Each time they learn (or are assigned) a new scale, triad, arpeggio etc. you select the appropriate card, highlight the tasks you’d like them to complete for that particular key, and slide the card into a space in the sleeve.
You can build a large collection card by card or you can rotate cards, having your students play only the ones you’ve selected for them each particular week. Here’s what it ends up looking like.
Why does it work?
- It’s a very clear and uncluttered way for your piano students to immediately see what they should be practicing
- You have complete control over what keys your piano students focus on each week – no more muddling through a book full of scales
- You can use several sleeves to separate various keys into “things I’m learning”, “things to review”, “things required for my exam” etc.
- It becomes a bit of a “Collect a New Card” game!
I’ve included the tasks on each card that are most commonly learned for each key, but if it doesn’t quite fit your needs, most word processing programs contain a business card template so you can make a set of your own.
My student went home genuinely inspired to collect a full page full of cards (Yippee!). We hope this printable provides some organization and inspiration (and any other words ending in “tion”… ‘cuz they’re usually good!) to your own students too!