TGI Summer and yet…how to practice music in summer, to keep skills sharp? Some parents worry their younger children will lose basic music literacy or momentum in summer, but usually everyone is happy to take a rest and often big music goals over summer end up in guilt…so…
IMHO…take a break! We all need the mental and physical break. I can’t count the times I have been at loggerheads with a piece, left it for a week, and then when I come back to it, the flow is restored. There is something magical, natural, and organic about taking rest; it’s like letting the stew spices sit: when you come back to it, it’s better than when you started, but you don’t know why.
For younger children: parents, don’t worry about losing literacy. YES some of this will happen, but remember young children are wired for fast learning; they renew, absorb, build so much better than our boring static adult brains. Any loss of learning will be sorted out in a couple weeks upon restoring lessons in fall. The break from discipline usually fosters more willingness to get back to the repetitiveness of some music tasks. It’s about building life-long musicianship, and when we adults apply pressure to our children about getting ahead, without natural and needed breaks, it basically backfires.
SO, what to do:
-Lots of fun sing-play, without the same pressure to polish a piece technically and emotionally from start to finish.
– For pianist, get a ukulele to mess around with over the summer.
– Honestly everyone needs a ukulele; darn things are so easy to play at a basic sing-play level; there is a tonne of instant gratification, and they are very portable for family trips.
– Take your instruments with you on camping trips!
– Make music playful. For younger children, put on concerts for your family, where you make and “sell” tickets, and just improvise at your instrument, without the grind of literacy and repetition.
– Fool around on an electric keyboard’s cool weird sounds. I can’t stress how important unstructured play is in developing the ear and keeping music passion alive.
– For more self-motivated students wishing structure, create a summer playlist of repertoire we can’t really get to during the year; repertoire that is easier to master and doesn’t require months to get performance-ready.
– For more advanced instrumentalists: be sure to get through some tech work a few times a week. Our repertoire is only as good as our tech work, so do scales etc whilst watching a show etc. Make it fun.
– For vocalists, please do at least the reverse arpeggio top held note & arpeggio high & light in the shower a few times a week. This is enough to maintain agility over the summer.
For help, ideas, support–YES please contact me anytime. I am absolutely happy to pass on all my resources.
Enjoy yourselves. Rest. Have fun with your music!
See you in autumn.
Kindest regards for health & happiness!