30DSR Day 14: Implement a Note System for Keeping Track of Students

Looking at that title you might be thinking you’re in for a dull day. Don’t worry I’m going to keep this as fun as I can. And it is going to save you time and headaches in the future.
Keeping track of students in the music studio.

How to organise student notes in the music teaching studio.

How do you keep track of what your students are working on and where they’re at? Whether you have 5 students or 50…keeping track on students can be tricky.

There are two parts to my own system.

Part 1: Printable Organisation

Each student has a folder (we call them wallet folders here in Ireland). These are super cheap to buy in bulk.

Piano student folder organisation

Inside each student’s folder are the appropriate blank assignment sheets and any other sheet music, worksheets, or visual aids that I plan to use with them.

Whenever I see or make a printable I want to use with a particular student I print it and pop it in. Straight away. (I’m not in the business of trying to remember things later.)

Part 2: Spreadsheets

For the bigger picture, longer term keeping track of students I use spreadsheets. I have a big file with several different spreadsheet pages set up called ‘Student Info’.

In my ‘Student Info’ file there are spreadsheets with students organised by…

  • Age
  • Level
  • Months in my studio
  • Months total learning piano (different for transfer students)

I also have sheets to keep track of..

  • What books students have currently
  • What books I’m planning next
  • Which scale level they’re working towards
  • Theory books they’re working in
  • Flashcard, rhythm or chord challenges they’re studying towards

This two part system means I can always find information about one of my students and I can see the bigger studio-wide picture too. This note system is also very adaptable and flexible. If I think of a new way I should be keeping track of students I just go ahead an add another spreadsheet to my file.

Can you tell I like data?

I’m a bit nerdy for numbers. But even if you’re not that way inclined (maybe especially if not) I encourage you to take today’s challenge and geek out with me for a while.

It’ll serve you well for years to come. 🙂

Action Steps

  • Take a look at the way you currently take notes on students.
  • Decide what’s working and what isn’t.
  • Pick one thing to fix about your current system.
  • Fix the problem today, or make it super easy to fix going forward.

Is keeping track of students easy for you?

Share how you stay organised (or how you struggle to!) and on top of student progress over in the  Vibrant Music Studio Teachers group on Facebook or in the comments below.

Vibrant Music Teaching members, you can access this resource inside the VMT library. Not a member yet? Find out more about becoming a member here.

Did you miss any of the posts in the 30 Day Studio Refresh? Check them out by clicking here.

15 thoughts on “30DSR Day 14: Implement a Note System for Keeping Track of Students”

  1. Thank you for THIS! Keeping notes about my students is a challenge for me and sometimes I forget where they are at! (And this can be embarrassing when you have to ask students what they are working on…)

    • You’re not alone Nikki! I have to ask students where they are in their books sometimes, too. I just tell them “I have LOTS of students; I can’t keep up with what everyone is doing all the time.” In other words…no need to be embarrassed:)

    • I totally get it – I hate having to say, did we talk about “X” already? It’s bound to happen sometimes, but when you have a good system in place (not just your memory, however good it is) you can fall back on it to check where each student is at. 🙂

  2. Thank you for these suggestions. For years I’ve recorded lesson assignments & notes in a music exercise book, with a sticker reward system. Few refer to the notes and it doesn’t seem to make a difference to their progress. I’ll be ditching them this year and move to a system such as you suggest.

  3. As usual you are a marvel..I seem to spend so much time on organisation and lesson planning….. but,I seem to be in sync with you……thanks Nicola

  4. I’ve always used a notebook for each student & write down things as we move through the lesson, keeping track of assignments, skills, & recital or adjudication pieces. I like your idea of the digital record on a spreadsheet as well. I may add that to my repertoire. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Thank you for these tips, I’ve implemented them all and it’s been such a game changer. I’ve been using your weekly student progress sheet alongside digital assignment sheets (and have now transitioned to vivid – we LOVE it!).. and I’ve just finished creating a master spreadsheet for my lesson plans, organized by teaching day. Took me some time setting up but was so worth it. I wish I had began all this years ago! I’m able to maximize my lesson time and gain much more clarity during planning time.

    I’m curious if your student info spreadsheet templates are available in VMT? Would love to see how you’ve laid it all out.

  6. Thanks for this! I like your spreadsheet idea for longer term organization and tracking. I’m guessing that students would get a kick of seeing what they’ve accomplished over a number of years!
    For week to week I keep a binder with all of my students. It’s probably pretty similar to your folders for each student. I can track briefly what we did at each lesson and do planning for the next week on the same page as well as putting in any handouts. If we somehow don’t have time for a particular type of reading activity for example one week, I can see that and be sure to prioritize it the next week. I cart the binder around when teaching away from my studio and am sure to have everything. (There’s also lots of pocket pages!) This works for me with a small studio. If I decide to go larger I’ll definitely switch to the folders


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