We all have it. The shameful folders, binders or Dropboxes of unused teaching resources. It weighs down on us and sneers: “Why aren’t you using all these awesome ideas? You’re clearly not as creative a teacher as you think you are.”
You might even have some of my piano teaching resources sitting in that heap (be it physical or digital) so I thought I’d step in and help you prevent an avalanche.
I have a very simple system to help you with that, but first let’s look at each part of the avalanche equation.
To print or not to print?
I know many teachers who print everything out and catalogue it straight away.
I don’t do this anymore. I don’t print it and store it away because it just does not get used.
It feels nice to have it all organised…but I didn’t look the stuff up nearly often enough and it wasted a ton of paper. (Save the trees! 🌲)
But actually, I do almost always print things straight away, because I have that student in mind and it goes straight into their folder to be used that week (more on this below). What I don’t print is a “studio copy”.
Ok, so we’re not going to print them. But what about digitally? How do we manage the collection on our computers?
The first thing to do is decide where you will download them to. That sounds simple, but it can quickly get out of hand.
- If you have Dropbox or another cloud storage account you could use that. Just make sure you put everything there straight away.
- If you’re going to use local storage (your computer’s hard drive for example) then you mustn’t download any of these files on another device.
It’s so easy to just click on one link from our iPad, and another from our phone when we had all these neat folders set up on our computers.
Don’t do it. Resist.
Once you’ve decided on a consistent place, you need a consistent system. That could be by level, genre, topic, age, whatever makes sense to you.
It doesn’t matter what the categories are. Just do it the same way EVERY time.
Putting Digital Piano Teaching Resources to USE
Through the years of being heavily involved in the music teaching blogger community, I’ve come to follow a very simple rule.
If you can’t use it this week – don’t even think about it.
I’m serious. If I download a resource these days I have a specific student in mind that I can use it with that very week.
This is a simple rule, but it’s not an easy one.
The reason is not easy is that FOMO is poised, ready to attack with arguments like…
- But, but, it looks so cool!
- Johnny might need that when he gets to level 2A.
- Oh, I’m sure that will come in handy.
- I’ll forget where it was otherwise…
I’m not saying you won’t forget where it was, you will. And it might be really great for Johnny next semester, I’m sure he’d love it.
You can’t focus on what your students are on right now if you are overwhelmed with the resources that are piling up.
This is why I created my Vibrant Music Teaching library in fact. Because teachers need to be able to search for what they need, when they need it – and not be afraid of the other stuff disappearing.
In Vibrant Music Teaching members can even create custom lists so that they can plan ahead for their students, without cluttering their computers or bookshelves.
Do you feel overwhelmed with digital piano teaching resources?
Tell me about your experience with all the “stuff” we have access to these days in the comments below or in the Vibrant Music Studio Teachers on Facebook.