Paul Wood

How do you communicate with your pupils through the week?

May 6, 2013 16:13

I’ve just had the pleasure of taking over a very good violin pupil the other day. She is 13 years old, very bright and in to tech.

I try to get pupils to record their practice and email it to me once a week so I can have a look at what they are up to. It’s not really a check-up but a way of helping them to keep a “playing journal”.

Using their phones they will have to send me a small clip of a scale, a bowing exercise, a phrase or a complete performance. Having spoken to my pupils, (most of them) like the fact that I’m interested to see that they are working during the week and that I've taken the time to reply – just a short sentence with a pointer or two. It’s not too time-consuming.

I ask all my pupils to open up sound cloud accounts and use their phones to record and upload. They normally email me a link to their recording. That way they have all their sound bites and get to see how they have progressed over time.

We keep good written notes which both the pupil and I add to each lesson.

I've kind of been missing the glue that holds it all together though.

For my day job - I manage East Ayrshire Music Service in Scotland – 22 instrumental teachers working in 50 schools. We run lots of projects and I use workflowy for my todo organiser. It now has the ability to share part of your list with people to view or view and edit.

Here is a copy (you can’t edit it ?) of my new pupil’s workflow list. She is my test case…

This was done during lesson 1 while we were chatting, playing and working on our game plan.

So, before the next lesson she will have updated her list and checked off her completed tasks. I can monitor that at any time. During our next lesson we will both be able to add to and take away from the list. When you complete a task it is hidden from the list but it never goes away. All completed lists can be seen when needed so it does keep an historical record. You can also tag tasks.

Both pupil and parent get to see what needs to be done. No more last practice diaries or half dog eaten ones!

Will it work..?

How do you make sure that your aims and objectives are understood and known by all parties?

How do you prove to your pupils that that have made progress (or not)?

Technology in the instrumental lesson, what place does it have and how do we make the most of it?

Would love to know your thoughts.

4 replies

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Email is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

JR Judd Violins
JR Judd Violins

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases

2023 Authenticate LA: Los Angeles Violin Shop
2023 Authenticate LA Shopping Guide Shopping Guide


Metzler Violin Shop

Southwest Strings

Bobelock Cases

Johnson String Instrument/Carriage House Violins

Jargar Strings

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop


Los Angeles Violin Shop


String Masters

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews. Interviews Volume 1 Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn Interviews Volume 2 Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine