This blog is all about trying new and creative things in your teaching. One of the best ways to introduce new ideas into your studio is with a comprehensive plan. In today’s post, I’ll share with you some planning tools that I’ve developed over the years to help with my own organisation.
You’ve really got two options when it comes to planning your piano lessons: you can choose to provide a weekly plan for each student or plan over a longer term – say, 12 weeks.
I find the weekly plan is a great solution if you’re teaching something new (Eg. a new method) or if you’re trying a new style of teaching. If you’re new to teaching, this will also be extremely useful for you. The more you plan, the more secure you will feel about trying new things in your teaching.
Alternatively, if you’ve been teaching for a while and are more comfortable with the content you’re creating, you might prefer to plan in 1-term (quarterly) blocks.
Regardless of how you like to look at things, I’ve got you covered in today’s post with my piano lesson plan templates.
Remember that the goal of lesson planning is to streamline our lesson delivery. Planning properly ensures we cover everything we need to cover during a lesson and gives us a framework around which to get creative.
I first learnt the value of lesson planning when I was studying to be a classroom teacher.
Back in those days (and perhaps still today), lesson plans had to be incredibly comprehensive with objectives, key performance indicators, continual assessment, etc. etc. I remember often leaving this until the last minute and having to rush it before my teaching rounds!
These days, unless I’m teaching something new, I tend to work mainly from my students’ assignment books for reference. However, I also keep reminders and notes aside about things I have to remember.
The lesson plan templates below can be a great help for this.
You’ll see that all my lesson plan templates are based on three key areas forming the main part of a lesson:
If you want more information about these keys areas, please see my post: “3 Keys to a Comprehensive Piano Lesson Plan.” That post also talks about why you won’t see “aural” or “sightreading” on these plans.
I wanted my student to get the most out of their lessons. As this was new to me, I needed to first read the author’s instructions, access the resources/music, try out the accompaniments and games and decide what I needed to cover from the last lesson and what was new.
Here’s a great template that you can use if this is the kind of planning you’re doing.
If you’re trying to be more creative in your lessons by teaching something like the 12 Bar Blues for the first time, then this is a great way to plan until you feel more comfortable.
I really like planning in 12-week blocks. This is how I structure all my business goals. Three months provides plenty of time to action a new idea without the goal seeming so distant as to be unattainable.
It also works well because you can still break things down into weekly tasks, either in detail using the above template or just as notes in this quarterly plan.
If you’ve been teaching for a while and feeling pretty confident, here’s a template that might suit you better:
I’ve only filled in the “Create” column as I know that most teachers will understand how to set technique and repertoire goals.
Would you like to get your own copy of my lesson plan templates? Just enter your details here for an instant download:
You can print these plans out as many times as you wish for use in your studio, but please don’t share directly with other teachers. Instead, ask them to download them from here as well. Inner Circle members – find your copy now in the Lesson Plan library.
Some teachers use a 3- or 4-ring binder and print one of these weekly plans per week per student, or just one of the quarterly plans per student to get started.
Whatever you do, don’t make planning a chore or too difficult or time-consuming as you just won’t do it and it will be a waste of time. Lesson planning like this should make your life easier!
It’s totally up to you and how you’d like to work. Try one method and see how it works for you – there is no right or wrong way to plan!
Do you have any comments or questions? Please leave them below.
Tim Topham is the founder and director of TopMusic. Tim hosts the popular TopCast show, blogs regularly at topmusic.co and speaks at local and international conferences on topics such as pedagogy, business, marketing and entrepreneurship. Tim has been featured in American Music Teacher, The Piano Teacher Magazine, California Music Teacher and EPTA Piano Professional. Tim holds an MBA in Educational Leadership, BMus, DipEd and AMusA.