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The Summer Drought

The Summer drought I call it. Lessons are less, thanks to holidays by both myself and my students. I find there's always a lot going on, seeing family, allotment, boating. I always feel there are two types of students during the Summer holidays month of July & August: the student that wants to get progressing and practising to keep up with things even if there are less lessons, and then the student that actually does this. How do you become the student that progresses? What tips do I have to help you practice in the drought? Read on!

1. ACCEPTANCE - Commit yourself to the fact that there will be less instruction during July & August, and accept it - don't feel bad, this is normal. Both student and teacher will be away at times. The biggest issue I find is some students feel guilty for missing a week - don't! Yes, practice is awesome, but equally, a nice rest is not a problem for your development.

2. SCHEDULE - The best thing to do is schedule your practice. What time of the day works for you now the academic year is over? Is it the same time as before or is a new practice time needed? If it is, then try to find it and stick to it.

3. HOLIDAY PLAYING - Lots of students enjoy the holidays as they get more time to play, and many take their instruments along with them. Something to consider. Other students like the break from music - decide what';s best for you.

4. TECHNIQUE - There may be less lessons in Summer months due to holidays being enjoyed (hopefully in the sun!), but now is the time to cement those techniques already taught in other lessons. A time to reflect on your hand positions, how you hold the instrument, wasted energy, incorrect technique or methodology. Go back to some basics and see if they are improved.

5. CHALLENGES - Set yourself some personal challenges over Summer. These may be more exercises than set in lesson, or try to learn a simple new piece of music each week. Bring something to the next lesson. Proactive students are those that develop fastest.

6. ENJOY - I find the best thing in Summer is to enjoy your music and instrument, as you should at all times, and it is a sunny time of year to play in a conservatory or outside even. Take your music into the Summer!

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