The school year is winding down which means students are looking forward to a summer break. Everyone needs to rest and recharge, but that doesn’t mean completely abandoning your instrument! In fact, when students go an entire summer without practicing it’s no surprise that they can forget techniques and decline in skill level. That leads to frustration and a desire to quit.
Instead of packing away your instrument or returning your rental for the summer Here are 5 ways you can help inspire your student to practice their instrument this summer.
Set goals that are tied to specific accomplishments.
During the school year, your student is motivated by rehearsals and performances, but during the summer those same reasons to pick up their instrument don’t really exist. Instead, this is a perfect time to perfect specific techniques, finger patterns, or to excel in a specific music selection. The key is to help them identify small achievable goals that allow them to see improvement. We love visuals too! Writing it down and making a summer practice goal board is a great way to remember what they are trying to do. Tying a reward to making their goal is a great motivator.
Explore new genres of music.
Summer is the perfect time to try new genres of music. This helps practicing remain fresh and exciting. It may even inspire your student to incorporate new techniques or styles into their regular practice routine. Check out this list of 67 different music genres that you can look through with your student. Yes, Jazz, hip hop, and dubstep violin are actually a thing!
Collaborate with other musicians.
Who says you can’t start a “band” just for the summer?
Any type of collaboration often results in an increase in creativity and fun for student musicians. Technology makes it easy for students to collaborate with others around the world. Look for opportunities to create unique pieces of music, contribute to a collaborative project
When students collaborate they pick up on new techniques, share ideas, get helpful feedback from valued peers, and often want to spend more time playing and practicing. Plus, when the school year starts again, we love that this has helped build ensemble playing skills.
Attend music events and call it practice!
Music festivals, concerts, and workshops are readily available during the summer months. There is no lack of summer camps that your student can attend and summer concert series are a learning opportunity that is 100% masked as fun!
Seeing performances helps a student understand what it takes to wow an audience and create a memorable performance. It helps them develop a critical ear so that students can compare live performances with recordings. Concerts often inspire a student to look closer at a specific musician, their techniques, and their style of playing.
Make practice fun.
Remember it’s summer and it is a time to rest and recharge their love of playing too! Don’t push your student too hard over the summer and make them resent their instrument. Pick a time of day that is easiest for them to practice. Early birds may want to get it done in the morning while a teenager may rather sleep in and practice in the afternoon.
And remember that music practice doesn’t have to be boring or monotonous. There is no lack of games and challenges that you can use to keep your student engaged and motivated.
- Set a timer and see how many times they can play a passage in a minute.
- Pick a piece of music and try and play it from memory
- Use the “three penny game” suggested by Barabara Nakazawa, flutist and mother of famed cellist Joshua Nakazawa.
- Practice in different locations, like outside, in a park, in the garage, at the beach, or anywhere else your willing to take your instrument!
Summer practice doesn’t have to be serious, demanding, and feel like a chore! The key is consistency. It’s better if your student spends 15 minutes a day playing their instrument than tucking it away for 3 months to keep it out of sight and out of mind. Set achievable goals, try new music genres, and make it fun. This will keep your student motivated and inspired during the summer break while keeping their skills and abilities on track for the upcoming school year.
Schedule private lessons with Day Violins.
Looking for a private instructor to support your student’s musical goals through the summer or school year? Check out our private lessons page or email us to learn more about private lessons at Day Violins.