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Do You Have Lots of Loose Leaves? How to Organize Music Binders.




How do you organize your piano materials? Do you have piles? Do you stash things in your piano bench? Are papers falling out from file folders or binders? Are your papers wrinkled up inside your piano bag, like leftovers in the lunch box you used to bring home at the end of the day when you were a kid? I think we’ll agree you’d likely benefit from sorting these things out.


Grab some quality binders and dividers. (You’ll be playing piano forever so these need to hold up well.) Here’s a handy outline to help you get started.


I recommend starting with three binders, labeled:


Sheet Music

Technique/Exercises

Theory



SHEET MUSIC / REPERTOIRE BINDER


Repertoire consists of the pieces or songs that take a few weeks or months to complete.


Recommended Tabs


  • Current

  • Printed copies of things you are currently working on

  • Permanent

  • Printed copies of things you enjoy and wish to maintain

  • These will be things you’ve played in the past that you don’t want to lose

  • Future

  • Things you wish to learn down the line.


Other tabs or separate binders might include Lead Sheets, Duets, Past Repertoire.



TECHNIQUE BINDER


Of course, if your scales and exercises are in books, you may not need this binder.

  • Front Page: Circle of 5ths

  • Tabs might include

  • Current Exercises / Etudes

  • Scales

  • Chords

  • Arpeggios


THEORY BINDER


You may not need a theory binder – yet. If you stay with the piano long enough, you very likely will.

  • Front page: Circle of 5ths here, too

  • Tabs will vary and may include

  • Note Values / Timing / Rhythm

  • Interval Theory

  • Scale Theory

  • Chord Theory

  • Ornamentation

  • Articulation

  • Music Form


Of course, you may prefer a whole different organizational system. Perhaps you like to play songs that could be organized by decade, or by category such as Standards, Jazz, Contemporary, New Age. Perhaps you’re a classical student and you’d prefer to organize your repertoire by historical periods: Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Modern. Perhaps you use lead sheets and you’d like to organize your music by common chord progressions or into set lists. I'm certain you can find the perfect organizational system for your needs.


Wishing you all the best with your piano spring cleaning!


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