It happens. Just last Thursday, a student walked in and counted on his dad to put the books in the piano bag, but alas……no books except one. If yours is a studio like mine where everyone has different repertoire and even the kiddos in method books have different ones depending upon their needs, you likely will not have the books on hand on your shelf. So what to do?
Here is where having a robust keyboard skills program comes into play. You are always behind on this and always need more minutes in a lesson to cover important skills, so turn this opportunity to make it a technique-theory-sight reading lesson. Have sight reading materials for each level on hand. Perhaps some easier than the current level duets to play, and of course, some theory sheets of basic skills–a snack box for the kids that forgot their lunch, if you will. If you teach out you will need to keep your emergency kit with you in case books cannot be found (yes, this happens too!).
This can turn into a great opportunity to get caught up–everyone wishes they had more time to teach new skills–here you go, instant lesson time! Perhaps the student has been droning along on one octave scales hands alone–time to put them Hands Together. No cadence routine? Voila–I I V I or I IV I V I at your service. Note that these skills can be taught practically by rote, using the basic fingering principles. You just write the rule (s) down in their notebook or on paper they put in the notebook when they get home. All of this moves the student forward–instead of just tossing the lesson, do something they can build upon–set an immediate goal for the day. Even one new skill has a cumulative effect!
By preparing a folder or spot on your teaching shelf for just this purpose you can be ready and assured that you can make a lesson appear like magic! It may end up creating a change of pace you both will welcome. Then, send a note along about the missing books but what you were able to accomplish anyway–give yourself a pat on the back!
Stay positive and move forward,