Summer presents many opportunities for rest, fun, and exploring new things. And yet, if you or your child is developing as young musician, taking the summer off from practicing and lessons would not be a good idea.
Summer is not the time to stop music lessons and practice! I have talked to many of my colleague professional musicians. I have also observed the students in my own teaching practice. The ones that are successful use the summer as a stepping point to get their playing to a higher level. Let’s examine how the summer season can help an young musician reach a different level of playing:
1. Taking time off could be refreshing in any situation. However, taking two or three months off from something that requires so much consistency, such as music can be detrimental to a player. That is especially true for the developing musicians.
2. Taking time off during the summer may result in spending one month getting back on track in the Fall. You would either stay at the same place, or you would re-gress. Spending the summer time wisely in practicing may result in taking two levels higher that they have been in the Spring.
3. During the summer you simply do not have school. Your schedule is lighter. Besides taking that time to rest, you can also use it to develop and strengthen the things you want to become good at.
4. The older and the more advanced the student is, the more I recommend continuing music instruction and practice during the summer! Often during the school year we are pressed with deadlines. We practice for concerts, festivals, all-state, solo and ensemble. All of these music events prepare us but in a different way. During the summer, you can really slow down and take the time needed to work harder on techniques, going back to basics. You can take the time to work on what is best for YOU.
5. Often during the summer, students are able to go through more material in less time. This is due to the the reasons explained above. We have a lighter schedule, we are less tired, we have more time to practice. Think about that big concerto that you want to learn but you never quite have the time for it during the school year. This would be the time you can take and develop a bigger repertoire on your instrument!
6. Summer music instruction can take on many forms. It could be participating in music festivals and music camps. It could mean that you continue lessons on your instrument. It could also mean that you on your own learn a different repertoire. But most important – this is valuable time of the year. As a musician, you must use it wisely!