3 Tips For Planning Curriculum for Your Intermediate Students

Do you feel a wave of worry whenever a newly-formed intermediate student finishes their last method book?

What do you do now?

How do you stop yourself from getting lost in the “Intermediate Level Wilderness”?


Table Of Contents:

  1. What Is The Intermediate Level Wilderness?
  2. Tip One: Set Goals
  3. Tip Two: Plan Meaningful Milestones
  4. Tip Three: Set Learning Activities
  5. Just The Start

What Is The Intermediate Level Wilderness?

Method books will typically only take your students up to a certain level. After that, you’re on your own.

We call this period “The Intermediate Level Wilderness” for several reasons:

  • It’s the longest period in a student’s timeline.
  • There’s no pre-planned curriculum or method book for you to follow (you’re on your own)
  • If you don’t find a clear path, you’ll feel lost in the wilderness.
  • There are several different routes you can take.
quote about intermediate students leaving method books

When you first enter the Intermediate Level Wilderness with a student, there are three things to keep at the forefront of your mind:

  1. The end goal (Advanced level)
  2. The skills your student needs to reach their end goal
  3. How you can help get them there

Related: Teaching Beginner Piano and Planning a Curriculum

Tip one set goals for your intermediate students

Tip One: Set Goals

While the main end goal, to reach the advanced level, may be the same for all intermediate students, they will also have personal and specific aims.

Maybe they’d love to participate in a school band and want to perfect their skills in playing with others.

Or perhaps they want to be a classical musician and are working towards an audition for a university/conservatory.

Some students have aims to serve on a church worship team and would like your help to prepare.

It’s important you get to know the personal aims of your individual students so you can work together. As the intermediate period is also a key time for retention, it’s vital you find ways to engage your students; working on their personal goals can be a great way to do this.

A little heads-up: goals are never set in stone. As your students grow (in both age and as a musician), it’s likely that their tastes and aspirations will change. It’s important to keep flexible!

tip two plan meaningful milestones for your intermediate students

Tip Two: Plan Meaningful Milestones

When you’ve established your students’ goals, you can start planning meaningful milestones to help track progress and meet targets.

These can be…

  • Formal: Exams, recitals, competitions, recordings
  • Informal: Quizzes, playing in front of friends and families
  • Repertoire-based: Learning a certain piece or collection
  • Events: Festivals, playing on social media, busking, teaching

Planning these milestones not only helps motivate students but also keeps them on track for reaching their bigger end goal.

tip three set learning activities for your intermediate students

Tip Three: Set Learning Activities

Without this element, you wouldn’t be able to help your students reach their goals and milestones. The educational content.

When you know what your students want to achieve, it’s up to you to plan how to get there.

Three areas to consider:

  • Technique
  • Repertoire
  • Functional skills

These activities within these areas are likely to differ depending on the personal goals of each student.

Just The Start

We’ve just brushed the surface of curriculum planning for your intermediate students.

If you’d like more guidance and an in-depth look at each of these steps (and more), then you’re in luck!

Janna Williams, expert teacher, has created a FREE eBook for you!