It's the Little Things

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Today starts a 5 day break before we kick off our fall term next Tuesday, and I thought I’d post about some of the little things that I’m doing for my students this year.

These “little things” started as a big project…

One of the biggest things on my to-do list is to finish prepping my student binders for next week. This year I decided to give every student a fresh new binder. Here are some of the things I’m including:

  • Dividers with Sections for Assignments, Scales/Warm-Ups, Completed Repertoire, Works in Progress, etc.
  • Studio Calendar for the back “window” of the binder. (I’m using the “View” Binder style.)
  • Music Themed Coloring Pages for the front of the binder. I’ll have several design so students can pick what they’d like to use.
  • Studio Policy – Because it’s always
  • Video Lesson Info – Sometimes I make short video lessons in lieu of makeups. This info sheet will help students know how to use them. (Future blog post!)
  • … and finally the little things.

Ohhhhh…. the little things!

Over the past couple of months I’ve been gathering some little extras to put in each student’s binder.

I went for things that were generally inexpensive, because when you’ve got 35 students… well, you know how it goes! Here’s a peak at some of the little things I’m using this year:

Students will each get a couple of “little things” to take home in their binders.

These little things are my way of saying “Hey… Welcome back! I’ve been thinking about you! Here’s something cool/useful for you to use at home while you practice.”

  • Composition Notebooks from The Full Voice – They’re on sale this week, $9 for a pack of 4. My students think these are super cool!
  • Monster Clips from a local kitchen store, but they were actually cheaper on Amazon. (Ah well, live and learn! I do like to buy local when I can.)
  • Bendy Straws for my vocalists. Found them in the sale aisle at the grocery store! If you haven’t heard about the straw technique, Google “Ingo Titze straw technique” and check it out! The bendy straws make this kinda fun 😉
  • Small Stickers that my students can use at home to mark their music… I’ll encourage them to mark their favorite part of a song or use the stickers as reminder for “sticky area ahead!”

Speaking of stickers…

Anyone else here have a Sticker Problem?

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I had SO many sticker books in the studio that were half-used or forgotten about entirely. Rather than buying new stickers to put in the folders, I went through each book and cut out sections that I could use as “little things.”

(And now I can buy new stickers to use to mark songs that students “pass”… ’cause you know, I have a serious sticker problem. There’s a Pat Catans in my area and they have sticker books for $1!!)

What kind of little things do you give to your students? Share in the comments below!

I’d love to create a “Little Things List” for teachers and include YOUR ideas. 

(P.S. Does anyone else notice that your to-do list has a tendency to be muuuuuuuuch longer than normal during “breaks”? I’m so happy to have a few days to get caught up with life!)

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7 Comments

  • by buckeyeamy Posted September 1, 2016 11:39 am

    You always have such amazing ideas! I love your resources and creativity! I also bought those same straws for my voice students! At 1sthe they thought I was crazy, but now some of them actually like using straw technique!!

    • by Sara @ Sara’s Music Studio Posted September 1, 2016 2:39 pm

      It *does* seem really crazy at first (and HARD – have you tried it with those tiny bar straws? ooof!).

      My adults are better at sticking with this technique than most of my teens. Those who do have noticed a significant improvement in their passaggios!

      Thanks for commenting 🙂

  • by amystudio88 Posted September 1, 2016 8:59 pm

    I love the idea of including coloring pages!

    • by Sara @ Sara’s Music Studio Posted September 1, 2016 9:05 pm

      I’ll have to post the ones I’m using!

  • by Maria Posted September 2, 2016 7:48 am

    I always love reading your blogs and being a member of UpBeat has changed so much for me and has really rejuvenated a 26 year teaching career!!! So thank you! Actually I have a tool basket (2 of them) in my studio. I strategically place them near the keyboards so that students and teachers can easily grab what they need. In it are little post its, my lady bug hand shaper, the multi colored tape wheel to help students cover measures or make notes, erasable highlighters (kids favorite), a collection of the Japanese eraser animals (another favorite), owl stickers (to remind them which sections to LOOK at carefully), my get out of chores free cards (parents LOVE this one at home,hee,hee – courtesy of Teach Piano Today) and my “new piece” assignment cards. It makes me happy when I look over and see a student using these materials. It really engages them! Thanks for all the great tips!

    • by Sara @ Sara’s Music Studio Posted September 2, 2016 11:04 am

      Maria, this absolutely made my day! What kind of tape do you use to cover measures? I’ve been cutting up sticky notes, but it’s just too time consuming! Does the tape remove easily?

      Love the idea of the “get out of my chores free cards.” I’m going to have to find those!

      Thanks for commenting and thanks for reading! It’s always nice to get feedback here 🙂

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