Piano Teaching Q&A: Lesson Plans?

Each week we will be featuring questions about music teaching, and will do our best to answer them and to give some ideas :) We would also love lots of comments to see what you think!

I am right now working on my portfolio to fulfill the requirements to become a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music. (In fact I have been thinking about my post for this week about Teaching Beginning Technique, but have not written it yet because I have been swamped the past few of days with this portfolio! Must. Get. It. Done!! :))

My question is this: What do you think about Lesson Plans? Do you prepare them for each lesson? Do you use them at all? Part of the Certification Portfolio is to write nine representative lesson plans for a semester of piano study for a student of any level. I have never used formal lesson plans before, and after working on these I must say that it is a LOT of work! Although I don't usually write lesson plans, I usually have an idea of what we will go over in lessons, and have an activity or two planned to help reinforce concepts. I think it is important to be familiar with the method books used by the student and know what units and concepts are coming up, but I wonder about the usefulness of lesson plans - are they useful, or are they just a waste of time? Is it hard to stick to the lesson plan anyway, depending on whether or not the student passed off their assignments? I can definitely see the importance of having a lesson plan when teaching in a group setting, but what do you think about using them for private lessons?

Thoughts? Ideas? Opinions? Experiences?

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