Lately, we’ve had several teachers email asking, “How do you organize your students’ materials?”, “What kinds of things are inside your piano students’ binders?”… and “How do I stop my piano students’ materials from ending up on the floor of a mini-van?” Clearly, people are begging for a piano binder post 🙂
To me, a piano lesson binder is so much more than a way of simply organizing materials. I want my piano students’ binders to become a keepsake that showcases all of the learning and fun that takes place in my studio. I put a ton of effort into making sure that my lessons are engaging, unique and “That is so cool!” worthy… I don’t want this hard work to get lost or overlooked!
I also have an intense dislike for crumpled paper, lost music and forgotten materials, and so binders also serve as a way of avoiding all of these travesties!
If you share my feelings, then you’ll love the piano binder printables we’re sharing in today’s post. These attractive resources will help your students feel a sense of pride and ownership over their piano lesson materials… which results in organized materials that remain in good shape, get used at home, and always make it back to your studio!
How To Make A “Blinged Out” Binder
Turning piano student binders into an attractive and uber-organized system is easy! Below we’ll show you how to make a “blinged out” binder that your students will go crazy for:
- You’ll need: our printable set of binder covers (download here), a package of binder dividers with tabs (opt for paper ones rather than plastic), a laminator and laminating pouches, scissors and tape.
- Print the binder cover set. Decide on the order of the tabbed pages as you would like them to appear in the binder (you’ll want the tabs to line up in your selected order).
- Place the printed binder cover sheet on top of the selected tabbed page. Line up the left sides of the two pieces and use a small piece of tape on the top and bottom to keep them in place.
- Place the two taped pages from above inside a lamination pouch. Adjust the two taped pages so that the entire tab on the tabbed page sticks out beyond the lamination pouch.
- Using scissors, trim the left side of the lamination pouch along the edge so the package with the tab fits through your laminating machine.
- Run the binder cover through your laminating machine. Be sure to keep it as far to the left as possible when feeding it through the machine.
- Trim excess lamination from around the edges and re-punch the holes in the laminated binder divider with a 3-hole punch.
- Repeat the process for each cover you will be using in your binders. Place the laminated dividers inside a 3-ring binder and enjoy the overwhelming feelings of organization and satisfaction 😉
What’s Inside A “Blinged Out” Piano Binder?
- Lesson Assignment Sheets: To help guide home practice, I recommend filling out printable assignment sheets (which you can find here) every lesson for each student. Every three months I suggest doing a “clean-out” to remove old sheets from the binder.
- Technical Work: This section provides an area for your students’ technical exercise sheets (like those found in TEDDtales), scale printables and cards (like these super-cute pentascale cards) and any other materials you use to assist with technical skills.
- Practice Sheets: If you use our printable activities from Shhh…Your Piano Teacher Thinks This is Practice, this is where you’ll want to put them. This section is also a great place for practice incentive handouts and home practice pointers.
- Current Supplementary Repertoire: Place digital copies of music in your students’ Current Supplementary Repertoire section. There should typically be no more than four to six pieces behind this tab.
- “Anytime, Anywhere” Repertoire: As pieces from the “Current Supplementary Repertoire” section are completed, they can be moved behind the “Anytime, Anywhere” tab. This section contains music that your students continue to play as review and should be able to play “anytime, anywhere”. It also serves as great “look at everything you’ve learned to play this year!” storage. I include an “Anytime Anywhere” sheet at the front of this section in my students’ binders. Pieces are added to this sheet as they are transferred to this divider, creating a “Table of Contents” for everything that is added. You can use my template for this found here.
- Theory: This section is where various theory activities can be stored. I also keep a list of games each student has played behind this tab. This game list helps parents understand how game-based learning contributes to their children’s overall musical goals. And your kiddos can keep track of how many times they “beat the teacher”! You can use my template for this found here.
- Music History: This is where I keep the Composer Trading Cards we’ve shared on the blog (stored in trading card page protectors) as well as suggested listening lists and more. Find the trading cards at this link (scroll down to Level 1).
A “Blinged Out” Binder Makes A Big Difference!
Improvement on the piano does not happen without practice. To help my students progress, I search out and destroy any barriers that may cause confusion or frustration or inconvenience to my students and their families. Home piano practice is more likely to happen when it is easy to implement …and it is easy to implement when every single needed material is in one big (beautiful!) binder!
Edited: Due to popular demand we are also now sharing a printable binder cover page! Slide it inside the front plastic sleeve found on most binders to personalize the entire binder. This page includes a spot to write your student’s name (in the bottom box). Find it here.