Summer is here, and regular routines are being replaced with recreation and relaxation. Between barbecues, pool days and sports leagues, summer instrument practice can fall by the wayside.
So we’ve rounded up a list of summer practice tips from a few our favorite sources.
These five quick reads will help your young musician up his or her summer instrument practice game and come back in August a better musician than ever before.
1. Use a Stopwatch, Not a Timer – Practice Tips for the Modern Musician Part 1
From BandDirectorsTalkShop.com, this article encourages students to focus more on quality than quantity when practicing in the summer.
Summer instrument practice is all about setting achievable goals. Practicing with those goals in mind and without distraction leads to amazing efficiency.
And, according to the article, “efficiency leads to productivity; productivity leads to results; and results lead to better bands.”
Read parts 2 and 3 of the series for more awesome summer instrument practice info!
2. How to Set Yourself Up for a Growth Spurt This Summer
Noa Kageyama, Ph.D., Juilliard alumnus and faculty member, created a blog to help musicians beat performance anxiety and play their best under pressure. There are some fantastic resources on BulletproofMusician.com, including this article explaining how to set yourself up for a musical growth spurt.
It begins: “The key to having a growth spurt is goal-setting. Or to be more accurate, effective goal-setting.”
The article focuses on two methods to help yourself pick the things that mean the most to you. When you have meaningful goals, it gets you excited for practice!
Our favorite quote from this article: “Summer is too short to get roped into an uphill battle. To make the most of it, you’ll want to maximize the return on your time and energy.”
You can read part 2 of this two-article series to see what happens to your summer instrument practice after you’ve got your #1 goal in mind.
3. Recommending Summer Music Camps
One of the best ways to ensure your child is practicing over the summer is to sign them up for a summer music camp! These could be through their school or a separate organization; either way, they are extremely beneficial to aspiring musicians.
The article lists eight reasons why young musicians should consider a music camp over summer break. It walks through how to narrow the field of camp choices, how to prepare for the camp, and how to debrief after it’s all over.
Music camp is one of the best ways to encourage summer instrument practice that feels less like a chore and more like FUN.
According to the article, “Summer music camps are places to meet new friends, perform new music, and provide new inspiration to encourage continued study.”
What more could you want?
4. 10 Easy Ways To Optimize Your Music Practice
This simple but chock-full article from NPR Classical offers ten tips on how young musicians can make the most of their practice time this summer. Though some are obvious, like finding a quiet place to practice, others are tips you may have never thought of before.
One interesting technique: “If you add a physical challenge to the difficult task, such as trying to play that part while standing on one leg or while walking, your brain is likely to start carving out new neural pathways.”
Who knows, you may end up with a one-legged instrument player.
Throughout the article there are great links to other resources as well – so do a little extra digging if you so please!
5. 7 Ways to Practice While on the Road
Going on a vacation this summer? Got a tuba that just won’t fit in the family minivan?
This traveling tour musician shares seven ways that he practices music…without his instrument.
Tools you’ll need include: headphones, notebook, pencil, book of sheet music and an open mind. You can learn a lot with a little bit of creativity while you’re on the road.
A strong thought from this post: “Traveling can be the perfect time to have all sorts of new creative insights while you’re digesting new sights, sounds, and experiences.”
What a great way to look at traveling (and summer instrument practice, for that matter) – enjoying the journey, not just the destination.
So, as school lets out and your children are once again at home and driving you crazy, apply some of these great tips for a few moments of peace while they practice!
Be sure to check out our very own list of Summer Music Practice Tips as well.
What did you find to be the most helpful tip your child has ever used for summer instrument practice? Have you established a routine for your child’s practice, or do you let them choose their own schedule? How have you rewarded your music student for practicing well?
Here’s to a very playful summer! Leave your comment below!