Challenges Resuming Music Lessons After Summer Break

back to school for music lessonsChildren and teens live for it – no school, no homework, spending the summer at the beach or pool, and no music lessons. Now . . . wait a minute! No music lessons?

Parents and students alike may believe that they need a break from music lessons during the summer too. However, some parents believe that music lessons should continue during the summer so students can retain learned skills and progress musically. Here’s what our music teachers think:

WHY SUMMER LESSONS?
Students should be encouraged to continue lessons during the summer. Why?
• Students learn more during the summer because they are not bogged down with school and can focus on music.
• They have plenty of time to practice during the summer.
• More can be accomplished in less time.
• Fun and different types music can be explored.
• Students who continue music lessons during the summer progress ahead of their peers.

RETURNING TO LESSONS AFTER SUMMER BREAK
While most would think that students would come back to music lessons rejuvenated after summer break, often times it is quite the opposite and the student becomes frustrated. Here are the reasons why:
• Students forget some of what they learned because it was not being reinforced.
• The first several lessons are spent reviewing and backtracking on what has been forgotten.
• It may be difficult to get back into a practice routine.
• Playing the instrument again may feel awkward due to loss of muscle memory.
• The regular lesson time may be lost due to scheduling on a first-come, first-served basis.

SUMMER PRACTICE
Here are some suggestions to keep music alive during the summer months:
• Keep playing the instrument. Play any kind of music that is available.
Find some tunes to play that are popular on the radio or sung by your favorite artists.
• Play through old pieces of music or recital pieces.
• It never hurts to practice scales or vocalize!
• Learn to play a different instrument.

TRYING TO SQUEEZE IN A FEW LESSONS OVER THE SUMMER
An abbreviated or flexible summer lesson schedule may help. Some teachers offer a pay-per-lesson plan, offer a 6-summer lessons plan or group lessons at a discounted rate. This way, the student will not be completely void of music exposure and can maintain some of their musical skills. Advanced students may be given the opportunity to have longer lessons to progress faster. Teachers may schedule summer repertoire classes where the students play for each other or offer a music history, theory or music appreciation workshop.

KEEP IT ALIVE!
Here are suggestions for keeping music as a part of the student’s life during the summer:
• Join a summer music camp, such as the Toronto Music Camp run by Elite Music Academy
Attend concerts, musicals, and plays.
• Sign up for music camps, workshops, and clinics.
• Encourage students to write their own music.
• Join a band – a garage band, or have a jam session at home with some musician friends.
• Participate in a talent show or competition.
• Join a summer choir.

While it is not necessary to maintain a regular practice schedule during the summer, playing for fun can be relaxing and an excellent learning experience.

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