Organizing Your Lesson Plans

I think that every teacher can agree that we just know what to work on with a student. I know their strengths, their weaknesses, and their level of patience for difficult material. And it’s with that knowledge that I organize their lesson. I basically organize it to fit their needs and their skill set. For example, if they are horrible sight readers, you can bet that I will be making them sight read music every lesson. If they’re not good at reading notes, we will spend a lot of time with flashcards and playing music that has difficult to read notes. In this sense, I often feel like I’m throwing them into the deep end. I want to see them struggle. And that is not to punish them for their weaknesses, but it is to make their weaknesses into their strengths. I want them to be better. And the best way is to tackle their weaknesses.

Another way I organize the lesson is by always following a simple format:

1. Technic exercise(s)/Sight reading

2. Note reading or workpage

3. Lesson Book songs

This is probably one of the best formats for following when conducting lessons. The sight reading or technic exercise will warm up their hands in order to get them in the mindset of playing. I don’t always want to jump into their songs because their hands are simply not ready to play yet. Simple exercises can also substitute for warm ups.

Note reading is absolutely necessary. It is a skill that has to be trained constantly. Students should be able to recognize a note on the staff within half a second. And if they can’t read music, they will not be able to play music. The workpage can also be an alternative to this. You can use this to teach them new concepts or work on previous concepts.

All in all, lesson planning can difficult initially. I think it has a lot to do with what you are capable of. It’s definitely not easy. For me, since I have been teaching for awhile, I am able to come up with lesson plans on the fly. But for many new teachers, it will take a couple of practices.

Lastly, I must stress the importance of organization. You have to be organized! All of your materials must be easy to find. I’m not always organized, but I strive to be. Don’t take extra time to find things during the lesson time. And you should have your students organize their things also. I use an accordion folder to organize all my papers.

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Good luck with your lessons! I hope this helps you in some way 🙂 Let’s all strive to be the best teachers we can.

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