Why continuing Summer Lessons is VITAL

Summer is soon approaching!
As I kid I loved summer vacation. Having no school, homework, projects, tests, and so on was a-mazing! Also having loads of free time to spend with friends and family, play, relax, travel was glorious.

As I child I always continued with my music lessons over the summer. Very often I also participated in music related camps, masterclasses, or other activities. Since I was enamored with music and loved practicing, I don’t know how I would have survived not having any organized music in my life all summer. I always recommend that our students continue with lessons over the summer. Even if it’s only a few lessons spaced sporadically throughout the summer, it makes a huge difference.

Students who do not take lessons over the summer generally need a substantial amount of review once they return to lessons in the fall. This can be avoided by taking lessons and practicing. In the very least, if you do not continue with summer lessons, if you still make time to practice to maintain your skills, that will help immensely.

Here’s why I feel this way:

  • You keep up the skills you worked so hard to build over the course of the school year

Let’s face it. If you think about it, you learned so much this past school year! We don’t stop often enough to reflect on how far we’ve come. If you really think about the difficulty of music you were playing last fall and the difficulty of music you can play now, it would probably blow your mind just how much you’ve improved in nine months.

Unfortunately, in music, if you do not keep practicing, your skills will start to backslide. A piece you formerly had mastered can give you trouble. I know this is unfortunate, but it’s how it works with so many things in life– especially playing an instrument.

  • There is less pressure

It’s a great time to work on literally whatever you want without the pressure of needing to perfect it for an upcoming performance.

Greater Focus– Without the worries of homework, sports games and practices, and other school-time activities, the students can devote time and attention to their summer music lessons and practice. Better focus leads to better practice!

No Backtracking – When students take a full summer break from their instruments, it only means one thing – time to backtrack in the Fall! Everyone knows that saying, “If you don’t use it, you lose it.” This is true in all disciplines including learning how to play an instrument. Instead of back tracking for the first month or two in the Fall, our students use their summer music lessons to keep making progress.

***Also, it’s a wonderful time for siblings and parents to try lessons.

You’ll know if you want to continue with longer lessons, or have your sibling or parent continue, etc.

Finally, I want to let you in on a little secret about summer lessons. It’s really the best time to get into the schedule of a new teacher. Personally when I moved just before 8th grade, I only got into my incredible new piano teacher’s schedule because I wanted lessons in the summer. Because she had more free time over the summer, she was happy to teach me. When she created her fall schedule after my first summer of lessons, I was added in right away after she accommodated her existing students.

Our teachers always like to accommodate the students they taught the previous year before adding new ones. If any of their previous students quit, you’ll be the first one added into their permanent schedule if you took summer lessons. Just an insider tip!


Source Article


What’s the Right Age to Begin Music Lessons?

“There is a growing (and convincing) body of research that indicates a “window of opportunity” from birth to age nine for developing a musical sensibility within children. During this time, the mental structures and mechanisms associated with processing and understanding music are in the prime stages of development, making it of utmost importance to expose children in this age range to music.”

Read the full source article

Encouraging Your Child’s Exploration of the Arts

“Look for programs that emphasize process over product. Any legitimate arts teacher will be happy to talk to the parent of a prospective student. Ask instructors about their philosophy of teaching and method for motivating kids when the going gets rough. You’ll be able to gauge if their teaching style will mesh well with your child’s learning style. Be wary of instructors who urge expensive equipment or insist on a “package” at the start, but recognize that start-up costs are often essential and unavoidable.”

The Uncanny Power of Music

Alive Inside documents the uncanny power of music to reawaken emotions and lost memories in people with dementia. Rossato-Bennett shadows Dan Cohen, a social worker and founder of the nonprofit Music & Memory, as he brings personalized music on iPods into nursing homes across the country. The transformation in emotion, awareness and memory shown in these elderly patients may leave viewers incredulous, wondering “How is this possible?” A number of researchers have studied this topic, however, and they have some ideas about how music affects the brain—specifically, music that is deeply meaningful to the person. — Annie Sneed

How long should I practice?


When asked “how often should I practice?” I say “every day”. “How much every day?” I suggest “as much as you love it, and then a little bit longer than that.” If someone loves doing it for 10 minutes a day, then 20. If it’s 2 hours a day, then 2 and a half. But I don’t like to tell young students the MUST practice and make it a chore, or something that they feel MADE to do. Consistency is the key. But the desire to do so truly motivates.

I try to instill in them that they are explorers, and that they are setting out on a journey, upon which I am their trusted guide. They should wake up wondering “what will I discover today?” They should be curious and eager to get out there and explore. I give them the maps, tools, ships, points of interest. I show them how to interpret the maps, read a compass, and find their way. If they see it from this perspective, they are often inspired to become a great explorer of the craft, and not just “do what I show you”, or “listen kid, your parents are paying for this, you should practice or you’re wasting their money”. They feel, hopefully, that THEY are part of the exploration, part of a journey no one else has been on, taking pride and ownership of their path.

  • Scott Jones – Guitar Instructor