Covers for Student Music Binders

 Binder Covers

The front and back covers of binders are valuable real estate for learning. I noticed when I started incorporating theory information on the binder cover, they learned it easier because they see it all the time. Well, that is, if they practice they see it all the time! 🙂

It is well worth the few extra dollars to buy your students the kind of binder that works the best in your lessons. In my studio, the cost of the binder is deducted from their book and activity fee. However, some teachers include the price in either a registration fee or build it into the tuition fee.

I use one inch binders, and I buy the more expensive  “Clear Cover Heavy Duty” binders made by Avery. (I’m including a link to Amazon for those of you who can’t get to a store.) These are often a lot more expensive, but you can get them at the big box stores in the Back to School section for a few dollars this time of year. The thing I really like about this particular binder is the “one touch” open and close. It easily opens with one hand and I do not need to take the binder off the music rack to open it.

I print my assignment sheets on both sides, and I punch holes in both sides of the page. Then all I have to do is turn the page over to reuse it. All that page hole-punching is a lot easier since I bought an electric hole puncher  on Amazon. I’ve had it now for 3 or 4 years and it’s still going strong. It punches about 15 pages at a time. My advice is to keep it cleaned out and if your paper is thicker, such as card stock or 24 pound, put in less than recommended. My assignment page is a free download. The early childhood one is here.

The binder covers you see today match the design I posted two weeks ago. I have some students who are too young for key signature charts, so I use the grand staff binder cover instead.

Included in today’s PDF printable are:

  • A front cover with the notes of the grand staff labeled for students who are too young for a key signature chart.
  • A black and white version of the same staff.
  • The grand staff in landscape view with the notes labeled.
  • The grand staff in landscape without the note names so students can write them in.
  • The grand staff in landscape in black and white.

The version of the landscape grand staff  is similar to the one I posted last year, but it uses less ink. I laminated it and made a poster out of it but it also makes a nice binder cover. The unlabeled one is great to put inside a clear sheet protector to practice writing note names with a dry or wet erase marker. It also works on an iPad. If you don’t know how to print one page from a multi-page PDF, please see my FAQ.

When I decided to switch over to using binders, I was a little worried it would be too cumbersome and a lot of trouble. Now I have it down to a science and it works great. Teachers have a place to add Picture Scales, (legal) music downloads, and theory sheets. The pocket on the front makes a great place to store sheet music. Many teachers add a small yearly charge for the cost of ink and paper.

[Disclosure: If you buy something from my link to Amazon, I make a few cents to support the expenses of maintaining this website, so thank you for your support.  However, I encourage you to check out prices to find the best buys in your area. I absolutely do not link to something unless I have it myself and I think it is a good price.]


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8 thoughts to “Grand Staff Binder Covers and Using Binders in Music Lessons

  • Julie Cleveland

    Susan–you are SUCH a valuable resource, these are great fun to be able to give out to my students when they come back in two weeks. I’ve been using binders for about 15 years, the best. I use 1/2 inch ones, they are less cumbersome, but I like your idea of the 1 inch as you can easy-open them (good point). And having some in stock as often kids come in (I tell parents to bring them to lessons at beginning of their study with me) with the WRONG BINDER TYPE (we all know what these are…the ones that don’t sit flat!) and I’d like to be able to whip out the proper binder. Thanks again, Julie C. from Gloucester, MA

  • Heidi N

    This is perfect for the cover for my own “Teacher Binder” with Notes in the Fast Lane and Sightreading Materials. I “pinned” the possibilities with the landscape versions for students to color the notes rainbow pattern style to visualize octaves, or they could add a low bass F and find the three FACEs on the grandstaff. Thanks for another creative resource

  • Regina

    Great idea! I think my students would benefit with a cover that includes the circle of 5th (both naj and min).

  • Leandra

    you are …AMAZING!!! I just love your enthusiasm for making it FUN for kids, this is how they grow to love music. I wish all piano teachers shared your excitement.Thank you!

  • KathyG

    I have used a binder for years and really appreciate the flexibility, for adding things like student repertoire list, theory information and worksheets, and of course assignment sheets. I use a template on my laptop, and print out assignments for student notebooks each week. I love the idea of handing each student a full year’s worth of blank assignment sheets each fall, but haven’t figured out how to do it with my weekly printed assignments. I use colored paper for these, changing the color monthly.

    I’m wondering if you have ever shared a list of the things you include in a student binder? I learn so much and get such great ideas hearing about this. As always, many thanks for all your sharing.

    • Susan Paradis

      You’re welcome. I don’t think I’ve ever posted what I put in their binders. I try to put only things they will really use!

  • Joyce Hein

    THANK YOU!!! I love using your resources – and using a binder. I’m so happy I switched to binders several years ago!

  • Andrew Ingkavet

    Great post Susan! I’ve recently started buying binders for my students though I’ve been pushing all my parents to do so. Some were very responsive but many would just forget over and over. Argh.
    Recently I bought the really slim 1/2 inch binders that are flexible as weight seems to be a concern among many of my students. (We’re in NYC where they have carry everything all day.) But now, I think I want to return them and get these!
    I also have made some posters in the past, most notably a solfege chart with cur wen hand signs. You’ve inspired me to start organizing a section of my site for teaching materials. Cheers from Brooklyn!


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