Summer is always a bit of a paradox when it comes to instrument study. On the one hand, your child may have considerably more free time than during the year—what a great time to fit in extra practice! On the other hand, your child may be going for weeks without a private lesson due to inconsistent summer schedules of your family and your teacher—so now what do you DO
with all that extra practice time? As teachers, we have a lot of strategies to keep practicing fresh, fun and fulfilling, and I know that as parents, you also have a huge amount of collective knowledge about how to engage your kids. Below is a bullet point list of some ideas to try this summer as you practice with your kids. We’d also really love to hear from all of you in the comment section what you’ve tried, what works, what doesn’t, and what new ideas your family came up to make the most of summer practice.
- Practice in the park–just make sure to keep your instrument out of direct sunlight so your varnish doesn’t melt…
- Make practice charts that your child can check off each time they play a piece with a beautiful bow hold, or without any memory slips, or anything else that particularly challenges your child.
- Hide stuffed animals around the apartment along with notes that ask the child to practice something in particular–this way the instructions are coming from the stuffed animal, not you!
- Have a practice play date so you can trade practice partner duties with another parent. Children always behave better with a non-related adult…
- Organize an informal recital in your home to provide motivation to keep on those review pieces. Have your child play all of their review pieces in descending order (so they get to the easiest piece last).
- Use edible counters for repetitions–grapes, blueberries, m&ms…
- Create games of chance to see what you will practice: make a spinner, use dice, make a deck of cards, etc.
- Record your child–maybe even make a CD! Send the
recording to friends and family, and your teacher!