As I mentioned in my Get Organized! post, one key to staying organized is developing a system that is easy to maintain. After trying in vain to keep my piano books and sheet music organized on shelves, I acquired this 4-drawer lateral file and it has worked wonderfully!
Here’s an outline of how I have each drawer organized (I would post a picture of the inside of the drawers, but someone inadvertently locked my file cabinet and I’m waiting for a replacement key to arrive…since I got it used, I didn’t get the key with it. :-)):
Drawer One (Top): Method Books arranged by level – Primer Off-Staff, Primer On-Staff, Level One, Level Two, etc.; Supplemental Technique Books; Supplemental Theory Books; Sight-reading resources.
Drawer Two: Repertoire arranged according to Time Period – Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Late Romantic/Impressionistic, 20th Century. Within each of the categories, the books and sheets are placed alphabetically according to the last name of the composer. Following the chronologically arranged files are anthologies according to level – elementary, intermediate, advanced.
Drawer Three: Supplemental books and sheets arranged according to level – beginner, elementary, late elementary, early intermediate, intermediate, late intermediate, advanced. Each category contains file folders with sheet music first followed by file folders with books.
Drawer Four: Duet and ensemble literature, arranged by type – 1P/4H, 2P/4H, 2P/8H, 1P/6H, etc.; Miscellaneous categories – movie music, wedding music, songs; I also have a section for my Duds – books or sheets I don’t want anymore and want to send on the next time I receive the Duds Box.
I have a separate file cabinet (a regular sized 5-drawer one) where I use a drawer for Christmas music, arranged by level and with a section for duet and ensemble arranged the same as the above duet literature; a drawer for sacred music, arranged by level and with a section for duet and ensemble arrangements; and a drawer for choral music, arranged by type – SA, SSA, SATB, etc.
Anytime I receive new music from a new-release club or pick something up at the store to add to my collection, I file it away. If it’s for a particular student, I stick it in their file to give to them at their lesson. (I’ll share about my lesson files in another post.) I have one student who likes to be my new music reviewer, so I’ll often set aside new music to send with her for evaluation before I file it away. This system allows me to quickly pull a new sheet or book for a student, look for something they request at their lesson or let them go through the files themselves and see if there is something they want to check out. If they do check something out, they make note of it on the Piano Music Check-Out Sheet on the front of the file cabinet.
So, in case you can’t tell…I love file cabinets and highly recommend them! 🙂 (You can check out Office Max for file cabinet options and free shipping on orders over $50.)