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Summer Sounds - Keeping Kids Engaged with Music

Summer break offers students a well-deserved respite from the rigors of the school year. However, for music students, it can be a challenge to maintain the momentum of their lessons and practice. The key is to make music an engaging and enjoyable part of their summer routine. Here are several creative strategies to keep students of all ages and skill levels interested in their music lessons during the summer months.



1. Incorporate Music into Daily Routines


Normalize Practice Time 

Integrating music practice into the daily routine helps normalize it and makes it less likely to be viewed as a chore. Just like brushing teeth or having meals, practicing an instrument can become a natural part of the day. For instance, setting aside specific times for music practice, such as before breakfast or after lunch, can help establish a consistent habit. Emphasize that this is a time for mental engagement, similar to reading or solving puzzles, which fosters intellectual growth.


Create a Dedicated Practice Space

Designating a specific area in the house for music practice can make the experience more enjoyable and focused. This space should be free from distractions and equipped with all necessary materials, such as sheet music, a metronome, and a comfortable chair. It's important for this space to be what the student wants it to be. If the area is stuffy and too ornate (unless they like that), they won't feel welcomed. Allow them to influence the decor if it's a separate room, or add items they like to the area. Personal touches like posters of their favorite musicians, colorful decorations, or comfortable seating can make the practice space inviting and inspiring. Having a dedicated practice space reinforces the importance of music and helps students concentrate better during their practice sessions.



Encourage Playing Music with Friends

Encourage students to play music with their friends by inviting them over for casual jam sessions. Hosting a lunch or a small get-together that includes a fun jam session can be a wonderful way for students to share their love of music with their peers. This social aspect of music-making can make practice feel more like a fun activity rather than a solitary task. Playing music with friends can also inspire creativity, improve performance skills, and build confidence. The collaborative experience of making music together can be incredibly rewarding and can strengthen friendships through a shared passion.


Incorporate Short, Frequent Practice Sessions 

Instead of long, infrequent practice sessions, encourage shorter, more frequent practice periods. This approach can be more effective for learning and retention, and it makes practice feel less daunting. For example, three 15-minute sessions spread throughout the day can be more beneficial than a single 45-minute session. This method also allows for more flexibility in fitting practice into a busy schedule.


Incorporate Music into Other Daily Activities 

Find ways to integrate music into other parts of the day. For example, listening to classical music during breakfast, discussing favorite songs during family time, or even composing a short tune while cooking can make music a constant, enjoyable presence. This holistic approach helps reinforce the idea that music is a natural and integral part of daily life.


2. Diverse Activities to Keep It Fresh


Summer is the perfect time to strike a balance between various activities, ensuring that students stay engaged and energized throughout their break. By dividing their days into different types of activities, you can help them develop a well-rounded routine that includes music practice without it feeling like a burden.


Physical Time

Encourage students to participate in outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, or playing sports. Physical activity is essential for maintaining energy levels and overall well-being. It's important that students have a set time for physical activities to keep their bodies healthy and active, which in turn supports their mental stamina for other tasks, including music practice.


Mental Time

This segment includes practicing their instruments, but it can also encompass other mentally stimulating activities like reading, puzzles, or even cooking. The goal is to keep their minds sharp and engaged. By framing music practice as part of their mental enrichment, it separates it from chores and emphasizes its role in intellectual development.



Help Time

Assigning small household tasks or chores teaches responsibility and time management. By distinguishing help time from practice time, students won’t associate their musical development with mundane chores. This separation ensures that music remains a positive and enjoyable part of their day.


Family Time

Family time can encompass a variety of activities that foster togetherness and relaxation. Enjoying dinners together, playing board games, watching movies, or engaging in fun outings can strengthen family bonds. Listening to music together is also important. Discussing why you love certain music and what you don't like can be very growthful for both you and your child, fostering open communication and deeper understanding of each other's tastes. If the parents are musicians, incorporating music into family time through casual jam sessions or structured family concerts can be particularly inspiring and bonding for young musicians. These musical interactions reinforce the joy of making music and create cherished memories.



Fun/Alone Time

Encourage students to view their instruments as a source of enjoyment during their alone time. Over time, the ultimate goal is for students to naturally gravitate towards their instruments during their personal downtime. This shift from structured practice to spontaneous play signifies a deep and lasting love for music.


3. Creative Experiences and Goals


Summer Projects

Engage students with summer-long projects that culminate in a performance or recording. This could include learning a new piece, composing an original song, or preparing for a local talent show. Having a goal to work towards can provide a sense of purpose and accomplishment.


Interactive Learning

Incorporate technology and interactive tools to make practice sessions more engaging. Apps and online resources can offer fun ways to learn theory, rhythm, and technique. Interactive platforms can also connect students with peers for virtual jam sessions or practice challenges, adding a social element to their learning.


Attending Live Music Events

If you have the time and budget, take your kids to concerts. These don’t have to be huge stadium events; community fairs, cafes, and local venues often feature live musicians. Experiencing live music can be incredibly inspiring for students, providing them with a tangible connection to their practice and showing them the joy and energy of live performance. It also serves as a great family activity that underscores the importance of music in life. Seeing musicians perform can ignite a passion in young learners, motivating them to keep practicing and improving their own skills.



Participating in Local Showcases and Competitions

For more advanced students, participating in local showcases or competitions can be a fantastic way to challenge themselves and gain performance experience. If your child feels ready and excited to take on an ambitious project, look for local events specifically geared toward student musicians. These opportunities can provide a platform for them to showcase their talents and receive constructive feedback. If any particular showcase or competition catches your interest, discuss it with your child's music teacher. They can help tailor lessons and practice sessions to prepare your child for the event, ensuring they feel confident and ready to perform. This targeted preparation can be incredibly motivating and rewarding, giving students a concrete goal to strive towards.



4. Encouragement and Rewards


Encouragement and rewards play a crucial role in maintaining a student's motivation and enthusiasm for music.


Positive Reinforcement

If time allows in your busy schedule, regularly acknowledge and celebrate students' progress, no matter how small. Positive reinforcement, such as praise, certificates, or small rewards, can boost their confidence and motivation. Simple gestures of recognition can go a long way in keeping students engaged and excited about their music journey.


Incentive Programs

If possible, create a summer incentive program where students earn points or badges for completing practice sessions, learning new pieces, or participating in musical activities. These points can be redeemed for rewards, such as music-related accessories, concert tickets, or even a special outing. This approach not only motivates students but also adds an element of fun and achievement to their practice routine.



Summer break is an excellent opportunity to foster a love for music in students by integrating it into their daily routines and balancing it with various engaging activities. By normalizing practice time, encouraging diverse experiences, setting creative goals, and offering positive reinforcement, students can stay motivated and inspired throughout the summer months. The ultimate goal is to make music a natural and enjoyable part of their lives, cultivating a lifelong passion and appreciation for the art.


 


If you're interested in music lessons for your child, Descant Music offers a variety of programs tailored to meet the needs of every student. Our experienced instructors provide personalized lessons in a fun and supportive environment. Visit our website at Descant Music or call us at (413) 888-8748 to learn more and enroll today. Let’s make this summer a musical one!



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