It’s that time of year when students are preparing to return to textbooks, pencil sharpening….and music lessons! Many of my students will take extended breaks from weekly lessons over the summer to attend a summer camp, family vacations, or just to break up the routine of the school year. Getting back into the swing of regular lessons can be a tough adjustment. Here are a few tips for parents to help students return to regular practice
1. Write It Down. I use a notebook to record weekly assignments and remind each student what he/she did during their weekly lesson. I also request that each student keep a practice log to record weekly practice (even 10-15 minutes per day makes a HUGE difference). Parents can easily check this notebook to stay aware of the current assignments. You can also post the practice log on the fridge or in a high-traffic area. These strategies might not work for everyone, but generally writing down assignments and charting weekly practice can be a gentle reminder (and hold students accountable) to help get students back in the habit of practicing
2. Talk It Out. Practice doesn’t have to be a chore like washing the dishes or making a bed (even though doing the hard work of practicing isn’t always fun). Talk with your child about music that they discovered over the summer: tunes they sung at camp or a favorite summer pop song. Our teachers don’t mind taking a detour from the lesson books to play the latest Taylor Swift jam. Learning a pop song can also serve as a reward for completing less exciting tasks like scales. This Childish Gambino tune was my summer jam 🙂
3. Slow It Down. It takes time to shake off the rust of a summer without lessons. It’s important to remind your child that it will be a minute before they are back up to speed. The Eagles said it best: “Take It Easy.” I usually tell my students at least once per lesson that slowing down a piece or a scale exercise will make it much easier to play.
These are just a few tips for getting back into the groove of music lessons. Our teachers are here to help you with the adjustment period, so don’t be afraid to ask us for more ideas!