Updated: Aug 16
By Christy | The Practicing Pro
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We all have experienced it. Being on top of the world after a big year of learning, practice, and growth. The HIGH after an amazing year-end concert. Big dreams and new goals bubbling in our minds we are already making for next year.
THEN….summer hits. Summer sports, the beach calling to us, family and friends visiting, vacations, day trips, new adventures, and projects - IT’S ALL SO FUN! On the flip side too after the routines are thrown out the window, like bedtime, homework, and practice time…the tension can start rising between parents and children as the summer progresses.
But wait, what about your daily practice routine you worked so hard on developing all year and what about all of the progress you made?
The summer rusties start to set in like the tin man in the woods in Wizard of Oz. Where is Dorthy with her oil can!
Last time we talked about two things that you can do to keep up your summer practicing going and some resources for keeping it fresh. These two things really DO help when you focus on them, and they are not hard so you can do them. If you missed that go back to #75 and take a read or take listen.
Today though let's talk about how to combat losing your momentum and keeping up your practice during summer by attending summer lessons or a music camp.
I have been teaching for over 30 years. I have found that it's simply NOT worth it to pass up on summer lessons or a summer camp when studying music lessons for these SEVEN reasons.
It Could Cost You More Money
It can feel nice to take a financial break in the summer and not pay for music lessons.
Students that take a short break then take a block of summer lessons start where they stopped after just a few weeks off. When they return again in the fall they just keep going.
Students who take an entire 2-3 months off come back with rusties. This often takes the teacher a few months to get them back to where they left off in the spring. Stopping lessons doesn't really save money. It's the same. The lessons in the Fall dont show as much progress so you are actually paying twice in the fall for relearning what was forgotten over the summer. .
What you don't pay for in the summer to keep going and keep learning, you will pay for at the other end when returning to get the rusties, review again and remember what was learned without enough repetition the last few months of the past spring.
Avoid Losing Confidence or Feeling Discouraged in the Fall.
Often children who “take a break” in the summer come back to lessons at the end of summer feeling discouraged because what they “used to play” so easily, now seems harder and they play it with mistakes. Going back and reviewing and re-learning things they used to do perfectly can make them feel like they are not “good at something” and instead of being excited to learn new things are frustrated to have to relearn old things.
Trying A New Instrument
Summer is the perfect time to try and new instrument. You can choose one that compliments the one you are already doing. For example, You can improve your ear by learning an instrument that accompanies like piano or guitar. Learning to hear the chord structure/progressions under melodies is wonderful. Piano chording and guitar chording lessons are perfect for that. Singing helps strings with tuning. Musical theater helps with performing and self-confidence in general. Dance helps with rhythm. Choir with tuning, notes reading, harmonies. And so much more.
Try lessons in songwriting. Take a theory course.
Learning traditional music from your area.
Learn about your own culture. Understanding and loving what makes your ancestors and the area you live in special and unique helps children to be proud of their traditions and culture. This creates tolerance and curiosity in other cultures as well.
Learning world music and about other cultures
Check out festivals and events in your area. Go to concerts that feature World Music and Dance. Look for events that have workshops you can participate in with your instrument, dancing, etc…
My favorite thing about the summer camp we put on each year is that the students learn Maritime traditional music & dance as well as a different culture that we choose each summer. This year we are studying all about Columbia and have a Columbian family teaching us about the culture, food, music, and dance. They also get to study their own instrument for the week and bring their level of playing to the next level.
Let's talk about Camps - Everything Above Plus More - Meeting new people.
Meeting new friends - technology lifelong friends that you return back to a camp year after year to meet or decide to attend a different camp together as well.
Being around others who value the sacrifice and work it takes to learn an instrument or other art forms. Meeting other parents who do too.
Studying with a teacher or learning something you otherwise would never be able to.
Some examples we had had at our camp before is Indigenous hoop dancing, a teacher from another city that teaches you new ways to do or think about something. Most camps bring in guests to an area that students would not be able to meet or study with otherwise.
Don't be afraid to try a new thing-
Just because it's not “what you have always done” doesn’t mean you can just “go for it” and try something new.
What if they try something and love it and now want to switch to it or to try doing two things now. Check out the Blogs
My own experience
For many of my own children's summers, we traveled to the Gaelic College of Arts and Crafts in Cape Breton. It was a lot of money. Sometimes we fundraised. We made sacrifices all year to be able to go. My son learned to weave tartan and even repaired and made some parts of a violin with Ottis in his violin shop down the road from the college. My daughter who was a singer also learned step dance, sing Gaelic and play the harp. My daughter who played piano also learned step dance, highland dance, and bagpipes along with piano chording accompaniment which helped her to trust her ear and know what chord progressions sound like, and understand more easily how music is composed.
It's definitely worth your time, money, and energy to have summer lessons or to attend a summer camp.
It can save you money in the end and you can avoid losing confidence or feeling discouraged in the Fall,
It’s a great time to try a new instrument or try some composing to capture your creativity.
You can focus on learning traditional music from your area or learn about other cultures. And the best one of all meeting new people and having different teachers that you never would have otherwise.
Summer music lessons and camps are a great way to combat losing your momentum and keep up your practice during summer.
You all have got this. If you haven’t already make sure you check out the last blog with the two main things to help you practice in your homes this summer. I’ll also be starting another Practicing Pro Academy - a 6-week online course for Practicing Parents and teachers soon so jump on the wait list now to make this your BEST practicing year ever!
I am Christy, the practicing pro, from Halifax, Nova Scotia, let me help you realize your VISION of who you hope your child will become through the study of music.
Bye for now and see you next time!
INVITATION from Christy Hodder:
DIGITAL COURSE from the Practicing Pro Academy
Speaking of amazing practices, let me tell you all about the digital course, the Practicing Pro Academy. This is an at-your-own-pace, step-by-step, online course for teachers and practicing parents that will bring you more effective, positive, and fun home music practices. Registrants receive a special package in the mail from me and I am with you in person with Q&As to answer all of your questions. You can start the course right away, if it's currently running, or join the waitlist here and I'll let you know as soon as it is.
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Checklist for a Successful 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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