Teaching With the Structured Practice Journal
As students enroll in your studio, they’ll show up on your Teaching page. On that page, you have three options for every student:
- Teach - Clicking “Teach” takes you directly to the student’s account, where you can create lesson assignments, view lesson history, view all their journal entries, and create message entries in their journals.
- Notes - This gives you a “scratch pad” where you can keep private notes about your student. These are for your eyes only - the student does not have access to your notes. It’s a good place to keep track of information about the student… what equipment are they using, what goals or challenges do they have, etc.
- Remove - This removes the student from your studio
The vast majority of applied music teachers get to meet with their students once each week. While this system as worked well for as long as any of us can remember, wouldn’t it be great if there were an easy way for students to ask questions and receive guidance between lessons? With the Structured Practice Journal, there is!
Whenever your student creates an entry, or Practice Note, in their journal, they have the option of “flagging” that note for your attention. The note, along with a recording if attached, will immediately appear in a special bar at the top of the screen in your journal. You can read the note, listen to the recording, and reply without ever losing track of what you were doing. If you need to see more of the student’s journal for context, simply click “View Context” and you’ll be taken to the appropriate page in your student’s journal, where you’ll be able to see all of their notes and recordings.
You can also enter comments on any practice notes in your students’ journals. When in “Drive Mode,” simply click “Comment” on any practice note, and instantly send feedback to the student. You can also create “message” notes from any practice page while in drive mode.
The Structured Practice Journal can handle all of your student lesson assignments automatically. Assignments are very visible to students while they practice, and a complete lesson history is always at your fingertips.
To understand how assignments work, you must first understand how Practice Items work in the SPJ. A Practice Items represents anything that may be practiced. For example, the C major scale would have a practice item. In addition, practice items can contain other practice items. This reflects how we practice in the real world. The C major scale is an individual thing that can be practiced, but it can also be part of All Major Scales, which can be part of All Scales, which could be part of Fundamentals. Each of these can be represented by a practice item.
We recommend starting small and only creating practice items as they are needed. It’s easy to organize them using the Manage page… they can be rearranged and edited as much as you like, so as you become more sophisticated in your practice organization, this can be reflected in the organization of your practice items within SPJ.
Assignments in the SPJ are instructions or lesson notes which relate to a specific practice item. So, continuing our C major scale example, you could create an assignment for the C major scale with a due date of the following lesson and the text “This week, work on improving consistency of tone as you move from one note to the next. Shoot for a tempo of quarter = 100”
The instructions and due date for the assignment will be visible to the student whenever they practice the C major scale. It will also show up in a list of assignments from your studio on their home page, and in the “Current Assignments” area of the lessons page.
Now, lets say the student plays the C major scale brilliantly at their next lesson. You would update the assignment with new text, for example “Fantastic work on this, well done!” and select “Mark this assignment complete.” The assignment will be removed from the Current Assignments list. It will continue to be available in the lesson history (just below Current Assignments on the Lessons page) for as long as the student remains a subscriber.
If they’re not done with the C major scale, you could update the assignment with new text (“Great work so far, but let’s see if you can improve pitch on the D and B this week.”) and a new due date of the next lesson. The Current Assignments list will be updated, and the previous and new assignments will be available in the history.
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