Ideas for Keeping Up with Practice over the Summer
As the school year winds down, students are focusing on end-of-year grades and summer plans. Unfortunately, that often means an end to music lessons for the summer. That doesn’t have to happen! Students need something to do during their two months off – what a great opportunity to focus on making some serious progress on their instrument or picking up some new music skills.
Consider talking to your students about a big music goal for the summer months – something that the extra free time of no school will allow a student to focus on. Maybe it’s time for a 100 Days Challenge to build up the discipline of daily practice. Choose a composer to focus on and try to learn 2 or more of their compositions. How about seeing how many pages of music theory a student can work through to polish up those reading skills? There are plenty of apps available for practicing note-naming on those long car rides to the beach – make their screen time count!
Have your students check out local community theatre groups to get involved with local performance arts opportunities! The summer is a great time to try out for a community play – many theatre companies have summer programs designed for newcomers and are a great way to get started. Often these summer shows are a way of getting acquainted with a specific theatre group, and can lead to better roles if a student decides to audition for future productions.
Work performance into family gatherings over the summer! Family summer events are a great place for young students to try out performing in a supportive environment. Working up a patriotic piece for the 4th of July barbeque could be the push a student needs to keep practicing over the summer months. A positive performance in front of family members might encourage a timid performer to try out recitals in the fall. Maybe this is a chance to get siblings working together to try duets or ensemble work and get the whole family involved.
Make music appreciation part of a students’ vacation planning! Spend some time at the local library browsing their music collections. Look for local outdoor music performances through your local parks and recreation department – for me that means The Barns at Wolftrap, the Bluemont Concert Series, and the Franklin Park Arts Center. Be brave and try a new and unfamiliar style of music!
Summer doesn’t have to be a time of year when a student’s musical endeavors are put on hold – it is an opportunity for adding extra music to enrich their summer activities!