Indispensables of Piano Teaching #1 – Highlighter Tape

Indispensable_  TAPE
Welcome to the new weekly series “Indispensables of Piano Teaching.”  Like me you probably have several teaching manipulatives, tools, gadgets, or maybe a reference book that you always find yourself reaching for during lessons.   I’ll be sharing one of my “can’t do without” items each week here on the blog for the next several weeks (not games or a specific activity, but an actual tool or gadget that I can’t do without). Please comment if you use any of the same tools and don’t hesitate to tell us how you use them in your studio.   And maybe later I’ll highlight one of your favorite tools!


I have found more uses for this tape than I could have realized!  It’s fantastic for highlighting troublesome spots in a student’s music.  You can write on it, see through it, remove it when a problem is corrected, and then reuse it!  Students love the colors (pink, green, blue, yellow, red or purple) and I find it the MOST useful in guiding their home practice.  With the tape I can highlight  specific areas I want them to correct during the week.  At home they can target these areas instantly and get focused in their practice.  I find I don’t have to write measure nos. in their assignments books and can simply write things like: “See BLUE areas and check such-and-such,” and so forth.  They also feel quite rewarded when the tape comes off — mission accomplished!

Highlighter tape has such a broad range of applications – the sky’s the limit.  A student and I often develop a color-code system for specific problems that need attention and often we use red for those especially tricky areas that require more attention. Needless to say, I run out of RED faster than any other color!  I find that some students will ask for RED when they start to get serious about finally ridding themselves of mistakes.

Since I can use strips again and again, it’s very economical and it keeps a student’s music in usable condition too. Once removed, it doesn’t leave a residue and I no longer see a multitude of pencil marks all over the page.  When I need to flag a page for whatever reason, I can create one quickly with this tape by folding over the top edge. I’ve even had students ask me for their own roll(s) of  tape for practice at home, if you can believe.  Now that’s what I like to hear!

A few photos here to indicate some uses:

A view of the colors in action


Emphasizing Wrist Lifts


Theory Book – Highlighting the roots of chords


Informing duet players where they land together…

And the list goes on and on…..

BEST PRICE:  $3.00 a roll at TheoryTime. com and $18 for a 6-roll pack. This is where I purchase mine. I did spot some recently at a local sewing center, but I don’t recall the price being $3.  I’ve also checked some of the big box stores in my area and cannot locate it.  Amazon couldn’t beat Theory Time’s price.

COUPON CODE:  As a generous favor to PCPT readers, the wonderful Heather and Ron Rathnau at Theory Time are offering you a coupon code.  Use PC4PT2015 for 10% off  at now thru Feb 15th.  10 percent off not just the tape, but ALL products at the Theory Time website Be sure to take advantage of Theory Time’s flat-rate shipping option.  They’re great about keeping the shipping affordable.

“Thank you” Heather Rathnau for bringing this tape to my attention!  I am indebted to you!

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17 Responses to Indispensables of Piano Teaching #1 – Highlighter Tape

  1. Diana Lopez says:

    This is such a great product!! I had never heard of it before. I’m thinking it would be great to use with siblings that are sharing a book. You can color code for each sibling. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Thanks, Elizabeth! I love the highlighting tape too. My students will work hard on specifics just because that piece of tape is there. It’s a real motivator and it inspires creativity – one student even made a stained glass window out of her pieces of tape once they were all removed. 🙂

    Once you use it, you’ll wonder how you ever taught without it! It saves time, keeps the music clean and motivates students to practice – and the rolls last a long time. You only need to use a small piece to get big results! 🙂

  3. Dee Dee says:

    Along the same lines, I use erasable highlighter markers. Frixion makes them, and they really do erase completely, without wearing or tearing the page,even after being on the page for some time. My students LOVE to erase the marks, especially when I can tell the, “Well, you don’t need THIS one anymore, do you?” They come in packs of 3 colors – pink, yellow and orange. It never occurred to me to color code my marks – what a great idea! Thank you! Can’t wait to see more of your ideas and be inspired!

    • Elizabeth says:

      Thanks, Dee Dee! I know about the regular Frixion pens which I use for needlework and quilting (the kind you can remove with heat), but I didn’t know about the eraseable, highlighter Frixion pens. Where do you get yours? I think I’m going to have to add this to the list of Indispensables topics. Sounds like a great tool.

  4. Ros Elliott says:

    What a BRILLIANT idea. It’s great for any kind of teaching too, I reckon , and will try it with my Bowen therapy students. I hope I can find this tape in Turkey. I will also ask my friend in Australia if they have it and she can bring me next month. Failing that, I’ll ask my brother in USA if he can get me some, or maybe they’d post to Turkey?

  5. Susan Paradis says:

    This is a wonderful new series! I can’t wait to see what you come up with next! The nice thing about highlighter tape is that the music doesn’t get all marked up for festivals, so it’s easy to have a clean copy for the judge.

    • Shirley says:

      Yes! I’ve been using small post-its on festival music to keep it clean. Plus, the coating on the sheet music makes it almost impossible to write on the paper. Love the highlighter tape idea … the colors and the practical uses.

  6. Larry Hill says:

    Love this! Can’t wait to see what comes next!

  7. Marilyn Brennan says:

    thank you. I ordered today!

  8. Jeanne says:

    I’ve used highlighting tape for years on handball music why did I never think to use it for teaching? Love that stuff! Gonna have to get some for home. Thanks for the link with the discount!

  9. Ann says:

    Love this idea as I don’t like writing on student’s books (my music teacher used to write notes on my music and you could never rub them out properly). I am looking forward to using the tape this week. Thanks for the great tip.

  10. Mandy Facer says:

    Similarly, I find white correction tape indispensable. Less messy, easier, and faster to apply than White Out, you can hide parts of the music you prefer students to wait to work on, and you can write on it immediately as well. I have not tried removing the tape later, though. It is available at Office Max.

    • Elizabeth says:

      Thanks for your suggestion, Mandy. “Hiding” is another aspect to think about as much as “highlighting.” Reminded me of another tool I often use which I’ll share soon.

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