When I first started teaching piano as an independent music teacher, I learned quickly there was more to the profession than being a pianist and pedagogue. I was managing a business and, in a way, people. Tasks like tracking student information, lesson plans, overall student progress, music to be ordered, recital participation, and repertoire lists, became a big part of the job.
I would find myself unable to recall the materials I needed to purchase when I happened by the music store unplanned.
Oodles of information and ideas in which I intently made notes during sessions at local, state, or national conferences found themselves in paper stacks, with never a second glance.
Valuable and detailed advice regarding iPad to midi capabilities I read in a Facebook thread were later fuzzy in my mind when I needed it most. When I tried to find it, the conversation found itself lost in a sea of never-ending social-media posts.
If you’re like me, you long for anything that will streamline the business side of what you do. While today’s digital world offers many tools and applications to help us manage and organize the tasks we juggle on a daily basis, there’s one that stands out: Evernote.
One of my passions besides teaching piano and cooking is organization and productivity. I’m continually looking for ways to improve, streamline, and simplify what I do on a daily basis.
Evernote entered my life in 2012 – I can’t say enough about what it’s done for me personally and professionally. I have spent years learning, developing, and tweaking Evernote. I’ve read everything the Evernote gurus wrote, then took their suggestions and modified them for my personal workflow.
My dear independent music teacher colleagues, I truly believe that understanding the capabilities, and thus possibilities of incorporating this program into your daily lives will open up a new world of content management, organization, and productivity, thus freeing you to do what you do best: teach.
This series has been on my heart and mind for months and has been a long-time coming. I can’t wait to help you along your journey!
Evernote Part 1: Studio Organization
In this first video, I will be sharing how I use and organize Evernote specifically for my studio. The following is a brief breakdown of what you will find in the video:
Brief welcome – what this video is about.
General description and layout of the program.
Specific details on the layout and tagging system I use for my studio and how you can make it work for you. I’ll walk you through the specific tags I use such as apps, composition, music lab, newsletter, and more.
Within this section: Details on how I use Evernote to organize my newsletter. Also, ordering notes within a tag using symbols, numbers, and letters.
Tracking active and inactive student details including the various types of notes I keep for students. I show how I keep student entry forms, repertoire lists, recital participation, evaluation notes, and more.
Mentioned in the video:
The post I referenced by Joy Morin in regards to my inspiration for the layout of individual student notes can be found here: Tracking Progress of Piano Students.
More to Come!
In videos to follow, I’ll talk you through Evernote’s different accounts levels and how it’s laid out in a little more detail including its amazing search-ability. I’ll also show you why I believe tags are a better way to organize than notebooks and will walk you through some of the integrated apps and the amazing functions of the web clipper.
Let me know how it’s going and any questions you may have for upcoming posts/videos by commenting below.
This is amazing! So helpful. Thank you. You are the queen of organization 😉
Can you share the evaluation form you showed in the video? Thanks.
Hi, Karen, I just had someone else email me after watching to video to ask the same thing so I’ve put it on my list for a post in the next couple of months – stay tuned!
Wonderful information… especially with the new year approaching! Thank you so much for sharing. 🙂
It’s the perfect time to get organized!
Amy, thanks for Part 1 of Evernote for Music Teachers! I was at your session at the Ohio Music Teachers Association, and I am a long-time Evernote user. I haven’t yet watched the video, but I have set aside time during my studio to break to watch it (hopefully today)!!
Hi Dee! Yes I remember you. Hope you are well and I’m so happy to see you’re following my site! I hope the video is helpful even for a seasoned user like yourself. Let me know what you think!
Amy, this was fantastic & I can hardly wait for the second instalment. I still very much think in terms of “folders” so my notebook list is much more extensive. However, I’ve taken your tagging recommendations to augment what I already have. This will probably solve my problem of tagging within notebooks or between notebooks when I am checking emails.
I did wonder what you tend to include in your “first steps” tag. Would you be willing to expand on that?
Thanks for sharing this, Amy!
Hey, Rosemarie! I hope to have video #2 out early next week. Here’s to keeping my new post schedule on week one of 2017! LOL. First steps is actually just a tag for a toddler music class I was going to be teaching through our local Creative Arts council. I called it first steps because I was using John Feierabend’s First Steps in Music curriculum along with Gordon’s Music Play series.
Thank you for sharing. I use Evernote 2,5 years for my studio, and it was very interesting to learn how you use it. Your organization skills are amazing!
I noticed that you have a couple documents, I wish to take a close look. One is a Guidelines to Stylistic Performance by Blikestaff and 2 forms: Student Evaluation Form and Practice Survey. I s it possible to share those papers?
I’m glad to hear you enjoyed the video. The practice survey is from Music Matters Blog. Find it here. I will email you the other two documents shortly.
This is brilliant, Amy! I’ve used Evernote on and off over the years, but haven’t delved into it or mastered it to this extent. Love having your specific organization ideas, and I think I’ll give it a try again!
Hey, Natalie! Wonderful – I’m so glad it was helpful. It has such great potential and power in helping organize our studios – I’ve been dying to share this for over a year. Let me know how it goes!
This was amazing and so helpful! Your commitment to your students really shows. Did you ever do the post sharing your evaluation sheet? I am very interested in seeing it.
Hi, Melody. No, I haven’t done that post yet but will be very soon. I will have it posted by the end of next week at the latest!
I’m looking into using evernote to help me organise my teaching. Can I ask are you using the free or paid version of Evernote in your video? it looks quite different to how my ‘ free ‘ ones looks!
Hi, Ada, yes I use the Premium version and have for several years! I love the stronger search functionality you get with Premium – it will search the text of PDF’s, Word documents, and even hand-writing on notes you’ve scanned and saved in Evernote. The increased upload limit was good too for how much I use it although I’ll never come close to using the amount I have now with Premium!
This was a great presentation, Amy! I’m not very tech savvy so I’m still hesitant to use it. I guess I feel the same about this as I do with regarding Tonara. Is it convenient to use Evernote with just your phone as an app – or is it better and easier to navigate and use it on a computer? I like to just use my phone for everything. I rarely use my computer. Thank you!
Thanks, Laure, I’m glad to hear you found the video informative! I think it depends on how you work as far as usage goes. I’m the opposite. I work as much as possible from my desktop (including social media posts and scheduling – even on Instagram!) I work much faster and more efficiently from a desktop than I do with my thumbs on my mobile device. Both Evernote and Tonara are easy to use on a device but I would encourage you to try using a desktop more. My opinion is you will never know if something works well (or better) than what you currently do unless you give it a fair shake. Really, all you lose is a one-month fee for the ability to explore tools that could surprisingly become incredibly useful! Good luck and let me know if you have any more questions!