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Don’t Derail Progress: Why Summer Lessons Matter

The summer evokes images of beach vacations, log cabins, and family cookouts. This leads to the misconception that summer should also be a break from music lessons, especially for children who are out of school. However, taking a hiatus from music lessons can be detrimental to a student's progress and momentum.

When a student begins music lessons, they spend months building a foundation and gaining momentum. By the time summer rolls around, they're often just starting to understand their instrument and feel confident in their abilities. Taking a break at this crucial juncture can cause significant setbacks. Instead of progressing, students often lose their hard-earned skills and motivation.

It's a common but flawed belief that students will continue practicing independently over the summer. Without the structure and accountability of regular lessons, practice habits tend to diminish rapidly. Additionally, equating music lessons with the school year can inadvertently make the lessons seem like another academic chore, something to be endured rather than enjoyed. Continuous lessons help dissociate music from the school routine, fostering a more positive and enduring relationship with music.

So after a summer of not practicing, with all the time off, the dread of starting school again, and free time being over, the idea of also starting up music lessons feels arduous. In my 24 years of teaching, I would say roughly only 20% of students actually start back up after the summer. If they don’t like taking lessons for extraneous reasons, that’s a whole different thing. But, it's often in human nature to lean towards being lazy, so given the opportunity to not do extra, especially in a transitional time starting a new grade in school, most people will choose not to.

Side note: I have had at least 50 adult students in my lifetime tell me they wish they never stopped playing their instrument. The reasons were typically that they "just stopped." Many specifically knew they had stopped for the summer and just never took it up again. They wish they had a lifetime of music but ended up not. This regret highlights the long-term impact of taking breaks in musical education.

Even if students do return to lessons in September, they often face challenges. The time slot they had may no longer be available, and they may struggle to play pieces they previously mastered. This frustration can lead to resentment towards their instrument, further hindering their progress.

Instead of taking a complete break, consider scheduling lessons around vacations. Most music schools, including Descant Music, offer flexible scheduling and can prorate invoices to accommodate planned absences. This ensures that students continue to make progress and maintain their enthusiasm for music, even during the summer months. For most, extended time off from work isn't feasible anyway, so arranging lessons around vacations can help balance both relaxation and practice.

By keeping up with lessons, students can enjoy a more fulfilling and uninterrupted musical journey. Whether it's a few weeks at the beach or a long weekend in the mountains, maintaining some level of musical engagement over the summer can make all the difference in a student's development and enjoyment of their instrument. The key is to strike a balance that allows for both relaxation and continuous learning, ensuring long-term musical growth and satisfaction.


At Descant Music, we offer flexible scheduling to fit your summer plans and ensure continuous musical progress. Our experienced instructors are dedicated to fostering a love for music in students of all ages. Contact us today to learn more about our summer lesson options and how we can help you or your child achieve musical success. Visit our website Descant Music or call us at 413-888-8748 to get started!

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