Maintaining a practice habit during the summer months can be a challenge. Between teacher and student vacations, limited or no school programs, and the general schedule shift of the summer months, music sometimes takes a lower priority than it does during the rest of the year. A lot of students put their instrument in a case and don’t take it out again until fall.
Here’s a few ideas for motivating your own practice this summer:
-Keep your instrument accessible. Make sure your case doesn’t get covered with the swimming gear or put in the closet behind the hiking packs. Keep your instrument in a place where you spend a lot of time so it is ready to go whenever you feel like practicing.
-Find unique ways to practice fundamentals. Grab a stick during a nature hike and practice your bow hold. Practice long, smooth bow strokes timed with the rotation of a sprinkler. Use the whir of an ice cream maker as a metronome for Schradieck finger exercises. There are fun quirky ways to incorporate music all around us!
-Learn some new summertime tunes that might be from a different type of music than you typically play. My grandparents always requested I play “Memories” from the show Cats when I traveled with them so that became my summer song one year. Pick up a fiddle song or baroque number and give yourself a new challenge.
-Bring your instrument on vacation! Family members often enjoy hearing your progress and playing for new people can be a fun change of scenery. While it can be intimidating to strike up a tune in the middle of a campground full of people, it’ll be a far more welcome sound than another motorhome generator. Music is a community event and you might attract other musicians who want to join you.
And speaking of joining other musicians…
-Follow and use a social media hashtag like #PlayHomiePlay (started by ThatViolaKid) or #100DaysofPractice (Hilary Hahn’s hashtag for motivating 100 consecutive days of practice) or #MakeShareMusic (Kennedy Violin’s hashtag for Make Music Day) to join other musicians who are sharing their practice and music. Online communities are often not our first idea for sharing practice, but they can be a valuable resource and provide awesome motivation.
Do you have other suggestions for summertime motivation?