Happy summer! Summer means no school, spending time with friends, beach days, and of course, spending a lot of time on the couch doing nothing. However, while there’s nothing wrong with relaxing a little after a tiring school year, it's always good to get in some extra practice with your instrument to avoid losing the progress that you've made during the school year. If you are hoping to be slightly more productive this summer, you’ve come to the right place!
One of the most common problems you will face as a music student is feeling motivated to practice during the summer. Summer is supposed to be your free time, right? Even though summer is your time to catch up on sleep, you should still continue to practice in order to not only maintain but also build up your skill—and here are some tips to help you!
First, create a list of things you want to improve on. It can be intonation, phrasing, speed, etc.—whatever you think needs work! During the school year, it can be difficult to focus your practice on specific skill sets when you are just trying to learn all your music in time for the concert. Summer gives you plenty of time to work on your personal playing style!
Next, get a calendar and create a practicing schedule. Block out certain days to work on each of the skill sets you put on your improvement list. Make sure to practice at least as often as you do during the school year to ensure you maintain your skill.
When making your practicing schedule, make sure to set specific goals for each practice session in order to help you improve your chosen skill set. Setting very specific goals will make your practice sessions more focused and therefore more productive.
Place your instrument in a clearly visible spot. This may seem strange, but if you constantly see your instrument sitting around, you will be reminded that you need to practice! Just remember to make sure you maintain the proper environment so that you don’t damage your instrument, especially if your instrument is made of wood.
If you find yourself in a practicing rut and in need of inspiration, listen to music online! Listening to professionals can spark your creativity by giving you ideas in order to improve your playing style. If you are especially creative, you can even try composing your own pieces!
Moreover, if you can go watch a professional orchestra or a different ensemble play during the summer, this may motivate you to put increased effort towards your own instrument.
You can even try getting together with your friends to practice! Playing with others not only helps improve your listening skills and your balance/blend in an ensemble, but it can also make you more motivated because you will be forced to adhere to a set schedule. If you cancel your practice session, you won’t just affect yourself—you will also impact your friend.
Finally, take the time to try out new techniques and pieces you’ve always wanted to try! This can help you get inspiration in preparation for the upcoming school year, while also improving your playing.
Hopefully, these tips will help you continue practicing your instrument and improving as much as possible. Good luck!