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#36 7 tips for summer practicing

Updated: Nov 30, 2021

By Christy | The Practicing Pro

It's sunny and warm! Who wants to be outside??


This is the last week for lessons at our Suzuki school and it’s a bittersweet summer break! Everyone needs a break, or at least a change, from their year's routines/activities/lessons but we still need to keep up our habits of practicing our instruments daily!

But how do we do this? Here are 7 ideas for you.

As a teacher / as a parent:

1. Do a “ wrap up” lesson and a celebration concert or event.

It’s important that a student feels acknowledged for the hard work and accomplishments from the year that “ends”. Then they can start again fresh for the summer lessons or a new year in September after their summer break. Make new fresh goals for the summer. Or make some even loose new fresh goals at your end lesson for the next year to have something to be excited about.

2. Make a summer listening list.

We all know that listening is right up there in importance just as much as practicing. Make a list of the pieces you want to play next year or even in 2 or 3 years and listen to them all summer. Challenge them to Visualize “YOU” playing them! This gives players the summer to listen and to get excited about their next year! Teachers can also play all or a bit or some of “next year's” songs for students in the last few lessons to give a seek peek into next year!

3. Summer is all about reviewing.

Students should not learn things on their own from their method books they use in their lessons and should never be encouraged to do so. The method books are meant to guide and organize a teacher to teach step by step in an organized manner a student to develop their technique. They are not “just songs” so when a player learns the notes on their own they have missed their magical window of learning that their teacher has. Instead, learn new songs from other books (not your main method book) and try different kinds of music. Focus instead on reviewing the whole year's songs ALL SUMMER. This is when you learn the most and improve the most when you are reviewing! This makes new things permanent and gives the player a chance to make the little corrections from their teacher “second nature” so they don’t even have to think about them going into the new year!

4. Focus on sight-reading.

If your student/child can use some sight-reading work - who doesn’t! Summer is the perfect time for this. So many music books come with CDs now to play along with or to check your music against now. Try some contemporary music! Learn music from black composers or world music. Learn Christmas songs from all over the world and put a full concert on in November with it. (You need to prepare in advance for Christmas events and summer is a great time) Learn some different styles of fiddle / traditional music.

5. Play duets / make a quartet.

Play duets each lesson with your teacher or have lessons with a friend at the same level to play duets. Play in a quartet you put together yourself for the summer.

6. Make a wedding/events binder.

For motivation, create a binder of “wedding/ event music” that you can pull out each summer and work on until you have mastered enough music to have a paying gig someday!

7. Have an end of the year play-in, family picnic, concert, any kind of a party - have a small surprise gift for them.

Use this easy printable and attach to:

  • a chocolate bar

  • a new fun theory pencil

  • a super fun printed song to “learn over the summer”

  • A new book or a book to borrow of music in a style they don’t normally play (contemporary, pop, jazz, fiddle, world music etc…)

  • My favorite - attach to a bubble wand!!!

Here is a BADGE to say congratulations to your child or students I made for you. Have fun with it! Send me photos of you using it :)

End of the Year Award Badge - PDF 

I LOVED this Blog and did a FaceBook live on this topic. It's one of my favorites with personal stories and examples. Check it out for even more summer ideas and practicing strategies!

INVITATION from Christy Hodder:

DIGITAL COURSE - Practicing Pro Academy

Speaking of amazing practices, let me tell you all about the digital course I built and teach called "Practicing Pro Academy". It is an at-your-own-pace, six-week online course for teachers and students that will bring you even more successful practices with your players! I am also with you in person the whole time with weekly Q&As to answer all of your questions. It only runs a few times a year so you don't want to miss the next time! I offer a free Masterclass to kick off each course. You can join the waitlist here.

Free PDF download from Christy

My Checklist for an Amazing Music Practice

Your easy checklist to have successful home music practices from Christy, the practicing pro. Whether you are a new or seasoned practice parent this checklist will help you organize before, during, and after practices for effective and fun practices.


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