A report card for a piano student should evaluate objective, technical aspects of his playing such as his ability to follow the meter and hit the right notes. In addition, a piano student report card should provide a teacher's assessment of the student's capacity to interpret the music with feeling and understanding. A piano student's report card should also provide room for self-assessment, such as whether the student is happy with his own playing and whether he has practiced enough to meet his personal goals.
Define the purpose of the piano student's report card. A piano student who is on track to become a professional musician should be evaluated differently from one who is taking piano lessons for his own enjoyment or as a productive after-school activity. Develop a grading system based on the student's objectives. A point system for a professional-track student should contain more room for expressing gradations of judgment than the recreational student. For example, a serious student could be graded on a numerical scale, while a recreational student could be evaluated using letter grades ranging from A to D.
Provide space to evaluate the student's technical performance using the rating scale you have established. Grade the student's rhythmic aptitude as well as her ability to hit the right notes. Also grade the student's sight reading and her ability to follow written musical notations such as instructions regarding tempo.
Grade the student's feel for the music using the rating scale you have established. This is a more subjective evaluation than rating his ability to maintain a tempo. It is an assessment of the student's innate musical ability and capacity to understand the music he is playing.
Write comments on the piano students report card expressing your impressions that you are unable to quantify in the other sections. Include your assessment of whether the student has practiced enough and whether her performance has improved during the time you have been teaching her.
Provide a form for the student to evaluate his own performance. Include specific questions such as whether he thinks he has practiced enough and whether he is pleased with his own performance. Ask the student what else you can do as his teacher to improve his piano-training experience.
Devra Gartenstein is an entrepreneur, cooking instructor, cookbook author and small business consultant. She founded Patty Pan Cooperative, Seattle's oldest farmers market concession, and transformed it into a worker-owned cooperative in 2013.