Creating an Effective Progress Report

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about myself, it’s that I am always looking for ways to make something better. Perhaps it comes from all those years of piano lessons where we ask ourselves the question “What can I do differently next time to make it better, more musical?”

My latest project has been to create a progress report that was considerably better than the one I tried one last year. Last year I just wrote in narrative form what each student had done throughout the year, along with things they were doing well and things they would be working on. It was too cumbersome for me (it took over an hour to do fill one out), and I don’t know if any of the parents looked at them because it was too much to read.

So this year, I decided to create a progress report that fit the following criteria. The form must:

  1. Be easy for parents to glance at and evaluate how their child is doing.
  2. Be comprehensive and concise.
  3. Be conceptually based.
  4. Work for any student at any level.

I got the idea for the categories and standards from the book “Intelligent Music Teaching: Essays on the Core Principles of Effective Instruction” by Robert A. Duke. In it, he talks about imaging the ideal music student and then creating a checklist based on that. This checklist should be independent of any level of performance. He then lists some general music standards, as well as some related to specific instruments. I also loved the Character section on the evaluation form from Music Matters Blog, and decided to include it in my form.

You can download the piano lesson progress template by clicking here.

I just ask that if you use it, you leave the website on the bottom of the page, or credit where you received it from.

Here is a preview of what you will find in the PDF. I’d love to hear feedback on what you like and ideas to improve upon this progress report. I’ll let you know how it goes after I use it this spring with all my students.