Ah the Summer Holidays, so full of promise! July is finally here and I think we’re all in the same boat. I always start the Summer with a list of things I’d like to do, places I’d like to go, people I’d like to spend time with, and more recently ridiculous distances I’d like to run (aiming for a marathon before I’m 30 in December, not going well, I’m up to 5k – yay!). I always think I’m going to get loads done and instead I end up in a ball at the end of August with nothing to show for my two months off! Oops!
Having said this, I know any parent reading this is thinking – try adding a million kids into the mix! I’m all too aware that parents are the SUPERHEROES of the Summer.
So, how much should you actually aim to practice during the Summer Holidays then?
Think of it this way; when the kids come back to classes in September with no practice done they basically waste at least all of September catching up to where they were before the break and for some it can take almost until Halloween! Think about that financially and you’ll feel a lot better about trying to keep up the practice during the holidays!
I’ve put together this little list of tips that might help. Remember, by setting a few aims you’ll show your child that learning their instrument is important and you’re also setting a good example of how to be dedicated to something and work at it even when there are more fun things to be done!
- Out of Sight – Out of Mind
Keep stringed instruments OUT of their cases. Put them on a shelf where your child can reach easily, or hang them up on the wall if possible (not in reach of toddlers or pets!). If they are put away along with the school bag for the summer, it will seem like a much bigger deal to get it out each time.
Some people are more into charts than others. I love them so I would spend my Summers as a kid ticking off charts for piece that I played. I would get a cool sticker or treat when I’d finished a full chart so that made me want to practice more. Check out my printable charts and certificates here.
- Play Dates
We did lots of these as kids too. Why not arrange a play date with another music student and bring along the instruments. Associating the instruments with fun times is a great little incentive for kids. I can well imagine that there would be a small percentage of time spent actually playing the instruments but I don’t mind that really.
- Home Concerts
Again, you could invite some other music students along a make a concert out of it. Otherwise I would suggest taking out the instruments for when visitors arrive throughout the Summer. Confession: I absolutely hated when my parents did this once I got to my teens, and after all this time they still do it and don’t seem to have gotten the memo that it’s embarrassing so if someone would just go ahead and tell them that would be great!!
I always say that listening to the pieces you’re learning is like a extra little practice. It definitely doesn’t stand as a substitute for practice but it goes a long way to helping. Have a playlist on standby for morning or evening time and don’t forget there are always plenty of versions of pieces on YouTube so it can be interesting, fun and interactive to go through those with your child too.
- Concerts and Recitals
I can distinctly remember the moment when I was at a concert of the National Youth Orchestra and I promised myself I would play in it. I think I was about 10 or 11 at the time and I was accepted into the orchestra at 13-14. It’s great motivation to practice and even that experience of hearing really great LIVE music is a special experience.
Try out some of these tips and do let me know if they work for you! If you aim to do nothing, you’ll do nothing. If you aim to do something, you might still do nothing or you might do something great so just GO FOR IT