Over the past few years, many of our parents have asked for some type of report indicating the progress of their student. With over 500 students at NFSM, this was one of those things that was easier said than done. We have been working hard in trying to put a system in place to get periodic feedback about your students from their teachers to help you track their progress and have a more involved role in supporting them as student-musicians.
We have put a new progress report system in place and we wanted to share with you how it works. These progress reports will be completed every quarter. The progress reports act as quick snapshots on how the student is doing.
BEHAVIOR – We ask the teachers to let us know of the student’s behavior in lessons. A mark of 10 denotes Excellent behavior while a mark of 1 denotes very Poor behavior. (NOTE: If you see a 1 for this item, chances are the teacher meant 1 as in no problem and it actually should be a 10.)
WHAT CAN YOU DO? Talk to the teacher. Find out what the behavioral issues are so you can help resolve the issues. One solution we have used for younger students in the past is the gold star system. Each lesson the student is prepared and has good behavior, they would get a “gold star” drawn on their lesson book by their teacher. After achieving a certain number of gold stars, the parent would buy them a small toy or gift. You can replace gold stars with every completion of a book, where the student gets a toy after completing each book. Motivation is key.
PRACTICE – There are no shortcuts to becoming a proficient musician. Sometimes people are born with natural talent and above average intelligence/attention span that can help that student progress faster than normal. However, no matter how much natural talent, all students must practice in order to become proficient and advance. A mark of 10 denotes that the teacher sees remarkable results from the student’s consistent practice where as a mark of 1 denotes that the student has poor results and either does not practice consistently or needs better practice habits.
WHAT CAN YOU DO? Talk to the teacher about proper practicing. The teacher will be able to tell you what they need to practice and how often and how long the student should practice. Students are to keep notebooks where teachers can mark what they need to work on so even non-musical parents can find out what pages have been assigned.
PREPARATION – In childhood we learn that preparation is a very necessary life skill. This portion is similar to the practice section except that it is more detailed in that the student has completed their assignments/homework on a regular basis and comes to the lessons prepared with their material. A mark of 10 denotes that the student consistently is prepared for lessons by completing their assignments on time and bringing their material/books for lessons.
WHAT YOU CAN DO? Make sure your student is completing their assignments. Teachers jot down assignments in the student’s note book so they know what to work on. As a parent or guardian, please make sure they complete these assignments or practice in between their next lesson. Also, teachers will tell you when it is time to get the next book for the student, please do not delay on this and order/purchase the book right away to make sure the lessons aren’t stalling.
PROGRESS – All students progress at different rates and there is no real standard for growth. We want to see that the student isn’t stalled and working on the same material week after week. Through hard work and practice, students should continuously progress. A mark of 10 here means that the student is progressing at an excellent rate. A mark of 1 denotes that the student has not progressed at all and is basically repeating the same lesson.
WHAT CAN YOU DO? Talk to the teacher about ways to help your student progress more. It could be due to lack of practice, motivation, or something else. The teacher will have potential solutions based on the specific student.
PARTICIPATION IN EVENTS – Though it is not mandatory to perform at NFSM events, we do encourage students to do so. Goal setting is one of the most efficient ways of progressing. We offer many events such as recitals, open mics, karaoke events, community performances, ABRSM exams, NFMC Festivals, NFSM Practical and Theory Assessments, and more programs throughout the year. A mark of 10 here means that the student does participate in different events and a mark of 1 means that student does not participate in any at all.
WHAT CAN YOU DO? Have your student participate in an NFSM Recital, Open Mic, or other event. NFSM Practical Assessments, Open Mics, and Recitals are great for first timers.
COMMENTS: We leave an empty area at the bottom of the report for teachers to comment more in depth about the student, where they excel and where they need more work. Most teachers will not go too in depth if the student is doing well so don’t be alarmed if there aren’t many notes here.
These progress reports are generally completed for students that are younger than 18 and have been with their current teacher for at least 2 months. If you have any specific questions about the progress report you receive for your student (including any difficulty in reading it) please see the teacher at your student’s next lesson for clarification.