Piano Teacher Must-Have’s: A Minimalist’s List

As the time gets closer and closer for us to move into our new home and eventually my new studio, I’ve come to realize just how much STUFF I have in my studio that will have to be moved.

While dreading the thought of relocating all these things, I began to ponder what it would be like to have a “minimalist” studio.

If I were a brand new teacher or if I had to start all over again in a very small space, what are the items that would be “must-haves”?

Thus, this “minimalist’s list” was born. Keep in mind that we’re talking bare bones. This list does not include equipment (like a piano),  office equipment like computers and printers, or pedagogical books.

I look forward to hearing some of your “must-haves” in the comments!


A Copy of Your Favorite Method Book

This is my first recommendation because it’s one of the most basic and important, in my opinion.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve either wanted to have a look at a student’s method book while lesson planning, needed a copy so I could make a video lesson for a student, or simply needed an extra copy when a student forgot their book. Whatever method you use the most, keep one extra copy on hand at all times!


Office Supply Must-Have

Post-its are kind of a “must-have” in any teacher’s world. I couldn’t go without these 1/2″ x 1 3/4″ Post-its for marking assigned pages. I like the paper ones because I can also write on them if needed instead of plastic-type tabs.

Erasable pens, markers, and colored pencils are God’s gift to teachers. I have four specific recommendations in this area.

Frixion Erasable Colors 12-pack.

Pilot Frixion Erasable Gel Pens. (I’ve used these for years but they do seem to run out or dry out quickly…)

The Pilot Frixion Erasable Highlighters are perfect for highlighting dynamics and articulation on students music.

Lastly, the Twistable Erasable Colored Pencils are great for students to use to mark intervals and such in their music or just to have on hand for student art books!


Awesome Stickers

In all the years I’ve been teaching. This is the best packet of stickers I’ve spent money on.

My students also love these Emoji stickers and Hal Leonard’s composer stickers.

Fun Manipulatives & Game Pieces

If you’re not already on the Japanese Eraser bandwagon, take the dive. They’re perfect for demonstrating on the piano keys or using for game markers.

Our favorites are the Hedgehog Iwako Japanese Erasers and Snowman Iwako Japanese Erasers


Resource Repertoire Must-Haves

It’s only happened once to me, but at some point in every piano studio teacher’s career, you’ll have a student with a broken arm or finger. While I was sorry to see the student hurt, I was excited to finally have a use for my one-handed book(!) On the Other Hand by John Robert Poe.

There are many more out there that I’m sure are great, such as Melody Bober’s Grand One-Hand Piano Solos.


Solid and Useful Games for All Ages

My drawers are full of games, but if I had to pick only two to have on hand, they would be:

Note Speed

Tonic: The Chord and Dice Game for Musicians (great for improvisation).

(You can also purchase this game directly from the creator at Tonic-Music.com.)


A Good Set of Flashcards

Kind of like stickers, flashcards are one of those resources every piano teacher should have.

TCW Resources flashcards are really nice because they are made out of a material that is like actual playing cards, so they’re easier to maneuver than many of the paper flashcards.


An Easily-Handled Music Staff Board

You can imagine how useful this E-Z Notes Magnetic Music Board – Piano/Staff can be!


A Pedal Extender or Small Footstool

Sitting at a proper height at the piano is VERY important! I’m very happy with my pedal extender, but you can always start with just a small plastic step stool!

PE-2 Pedal Extender from DHP Musicpe-2-pedal-extender


Sight Reading Resources

Whether you’re assessing a transfer student or looking for an activity to use with students who forget their piano books, some kind of leveled sight-reading material is useful to have on hand.

My favorite is Piano Safari’s three levels of sightreading cards. Every card includes a short 4-measure note-reading and a separate rhythm exercise.


Easy Duet Material for When Students Forget Their Books

Yes, it will happen; students will forget their books. Don’t get too frustrated though when it happens, though, because we have options.

Play games or pull out some easy sight-reading duets like these Get Ready for Pentascale Duets.


Easily Accessible Date and Time

Having to recall what the date is at every single lesson every single day made me realize I needed a date display right in front of me. I also wanted a clock I could easily refer to without it necessarily being in students’ line of sight.

This mini large readout clock is perfect as it measures 1.5″ x 2.5″ and will alternate date with time every two seconds (optional).


Assignment Sheets

Last but not least is a way of giving assignments to students. Check out the one-stop assignment-sheet shop right here on Piano Pantry!

Visit Assignment Sheet Central


Is there anything else you think should be on a piano teacher’s “minimalist” list? Let’s share together in the comments!



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