Suggestions needed for organizing teaching materials


Megan Titensor said: Jul 3, 2009
Megan Titensor
Suzuki Association Member
Calle Jose Gabriel Cosio 306 Cusco, Peru
17 posts

After returning from teacher training at institute, I’ve decided I really need to get all my valuable teaching ideas/resources organized in a more useful manner. I’m soliciting any suggestions for organization/cataloging systems anyone has found successful. I’m trying to avoid forgetting about all the useful things I have access to!


Connie Sunday said: Jul 3, 2009
Connie SundayViolin, Piano, Viola
667 posts

If you have the patience, one way to do it is to transcribe (type) all your notes and recordings (there is special equipment you can get to do this, with a foot pedal), and put them in a globally searchable document (as any word processing document would be).

Over time, the larger outline of your collection will become evident to you.

I type over 100 words/minute and have done transcription as a temp for a living on occasion, so it’s not a problem for me. But if you don’t care to do it yourself, you can always hire someone to do it for minimum wage.

In addition, there is a free, legal, alternative to MS Word, OpenOffice Suite by Sun. This is a very good program. See:

Free Handouts for Music Teachers & Students:

Jennifer Visick said: Jul 3, 2009
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
998 posts

I find index cards with “one idea per card”, categorized into things like posture, right hand, left hand, vibrato, “atmosphere”, visualizations, imagery, tone, shifting, intonation, etc., can be helpful in that I will flip through them or be able to “look up” a particular thing when necessary.

The Table of Contents of Simon Fischer’s book “Basics” helped me get a few good ideas for how to categorize.

Of course you have to go through all your notes and pull out the useful ideas and put them on cards. If you’re doing it on a computer, most computers and printers will have a setting for printing and handling index cards.

Another thing I’ve done is to use a spreadsheet to trace all the ideas I’ve written down about teaching one technique. E.g., along the top would be the name of the person, book, article, teacher, and/or institute from which the idea came. Along the left side would be a somewhat arbitrary “name” for each idea. The rest is filled in with descriptions or checkmarks indicating that the same idea is taught by various sources, or the same basic idea is taught by so and so with a slight variation, etc.

I find it’s useful to merely “go over” and “organize” notes in any fashion. Ideally you want to be able to pull teaching ideas out of your head in the midst of a lesson, and the mere act of trying to organize them helps. I also find its useful to go over and possibly re-organize my notes a second or third time about 3-6 months after taking the institute training courses.

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