Evernote is a free program that can be used on desktop & laptop computers, and on most mobile devices. It enables sharing of documents between different devices and different users. This ability has made it extremely useful for two or more people collaborating on a computer based project. Sharing assignments and other things automatically between a student and me through Evernote has also proven to have many uses. It works best if the student has a device she can use at the piano, which means any thing other than a desktop c
omputer. If only a desktop computer is available, assignment pages can be printed out.
The free, basic version limits a user to two devices (desktop computer & laptop computer, computer & phone, computer & tablet, phone & tablet). Subscription versions offer more capabilities. For purposes of lessons with me, the basic version is adequate, so if you want to use it more extensively and are willing to pay to do so, that is up to you.
Once you have downloaded Evernote, you’ll need to create an account. To do so, simply follow the prompts upon opening the applications. Since your child will be using it, use an email address and password she can remember.
On our desktop computers, we have files and folders. A single document is a file, and documents can be put into folders. In Evernote, organization is basically the same, except files are called “notes” and folders are called “notebooks.” Notes must be in notebooks. When a new note is created it goes into whatever you have set as your default notebook, or into the notebook you have chosen. Notes can include formatted text, tables, graphics, photographs, audio recordings, videos or pdf documents.
Syncing between different devices and users is done with notebooks. I have several notebooks that I use in teaching. Some of these are for my own use and are note shared, but several are shared. The following notebooks are shared with each student*:
- Student Notebook. Each student has their own notebook which is labeled with their full name. This is used mostly for assignment notes. I make a new assignment note for each lesson, which is labeled with the date of that lesson. Notes in this notebook may be edited by students.
- Records & Notes. Each student has a Records & Notes notebook. This notebook contains various items that may include practice record charts, instructions, checklists and so on. Notes in this notebook may be edited by students.
- Listening. Each student has a Listening notebook. This notebook contains assignments and information relating to listening to music. Notes in this notebook may be edited by students.
- Practice Tools. As the name implies, this contains things related to practicing. This is not individual to each student, but is the same notebook, shared with all students. Notes in this notebook may not be edited by students.
- Studio Notes. This notebook contains notes relevant to all students, such as the Swap List, a Quick Reference Policy, guides to music events, etc. This also is not individual to each student. Notes in this notebook may not be edited by students.
* Some older or adult students may not need all of these notebooks, but all students should have their Student Notebook, Practice Tools & Studio Notes.
Sharing notebooks is quite easy. In Notebooks view,hover over a notebook to reveal the share icon . Click on it to open the sharing dialogue. Enter the email address of the person with whom you wish to share the notebook, choose permissions (Can Edit and Invite, Can Edit, Can view) and click done.
The person with whom you are sharing will receive an email or a message through Evernote’s workchat inviting them to join the notebook you shared. They just need to click on Join. If they are not signed into Evernote, they’ll need to sign in to see the notebook. Otherwise, the notebook will open in Evernote.
When I share a notebook with you, you will receive an email or a message through Evernote’s workchat inviting you to join the notebook, and will simply click on Join.
For mobile devices, the process is the same, but things may look a little different.
For more detailed explanations and info about sharing on mobile devices click here.
I welcome students to ask me questions between lessons. They may text me if they have that capability, or they may use Workchat within Evernote. Workchat is basically texting, but only accessible within Evernote.
I also don’t mind if students make notes on their assignment notes. They can type, draw, insert pictures, etc. My only requirement is that they DO NOT alter anything I have put on their note.
Evernote has been very useful in my teaching, and there have been few problems. Occasionally, however, there have been syncing issues. If you cannot see the note from the last lesson, this may be why. Contact me as soon as possible and let me know. I may have simply forgotten to put the note in your notebook after I finished editing it and adding recordings or other things. If that is not the problem, then there is probably a syncing problem. Here are some things you can do:
- Close Evernote and reopen it.
- Restart your device and then reopen Evernote.
- Delete Evernote, reinstall it and then reopen it.
Before resorting to either of the last 2 options, you can try going to the Evernote website and signing in. If you can see the note there, then you need to try option 2 or 3.
On rare occasions, a note has become corrupted. The symptoms are that Evernote runs very slow when that note is opened. Unless it is a note you created, you won’t have to deal with this. I will deal with it on my end. If it is a note you created, you can do the following:
- Open the corrupted note and “select all.”
- Copy the selection and paste into a document in a word processing or text program, such as MS Word.
- Return to Evernote and delete the corrupted note.
- Empty the Trash notebook in Evernote.
- Quit and reopen Evernote.
- Create a new note and give it the title of the one you deleted.
- Go to the document on which you pasted the contents of the note.
- Copy the contents and paste into the new note in Evernote.
This has happened to me 3 times and following the above steps fixed the problem every time.
You can find more help with Evernote here.