The summer months are generally viewed as a musical break. That could mean a break from piano lessons altogether or a break from the usual rigour and routine that accompanies “school year” piano lessons.
And this is okay! Breaks are important – and the summer months are a great time to press the refresh button. But a “break” shouldn’t mean an end to the progress that has been developing for the previous 10 months.
To put it simply, two months away from the piano is too long. Young children require regular, parent-supported practice to maintain a specialized skill like playing the piano. But when regular practice or parent participation disappears, kids take a backwards slide; a slide that can often require a month-long recovery.
Our greatest ally in helping our students to succeed through the summer months (whether or not they continue lessons with you) is their parents. To eliminate the “summer slide” we’re sharing an email template you can send to your piano parents to explain the importance of continued practice during the summer.
Did You Know That Two Months Can Make A Huge Difference?
The email template below provides parents with the information they need to understand the importance of summer piano practice as well as some strategies to help make this practice happen.
I send this email to my piano parents a few weeks before before the end of the school year so it reaches them before the lazy days of summer have settled in.
Feel free to copy and paste my template or to make any necessary modifications to make it work for your studio. You can send this email (with a few small changes) even if you continue to teach during the summer, as summer piano practice can still be difficult to maintain without parental support at home.
Wow, what a busy year we’ve had at the studio! It’s been a pleasure teaching Nathan this year – I’m sure you and Mark are very proud of all that he has accomplished at the piano. Nathan has made great progress, and I look forward to what we’ll be able to achieve together next year!
Because we’ll be taking a break from piano lessons in two short weeks, I wanted to take the time now to send along some information on summer piano practice so Nathan stays motivated and continues to progress through July and August.
While the summer months are a great time to take a refreshing break from routines, in my experience, two months away from the piano can often result in what I call the “summer slide”… a loss in valuable skills learned during the year. Students then get frustrated upon returning to lessons in the fall once they realize that their skills have deteriorated (which can happen even with just a few short weeks away from the piano).
Nathan has worked so hard this year and I would love it if he could continue on his path to success!
While the summer months are busy and often “routine-free”, I thought I’d pass on a few suggestions in the hopes that you and Mark can help Nathan keep piano practice as a part of his daily tasks. This way our fall lessons can be spent on exciting new projects instead of on review and “repair” 🙂
One of the best ways to continue piano practice during the summer is to have your child complete it first thing in the morning. This means that, no matter how busy a day becomes with summer fun, practice has already happened. Short, but regular practice sessions at the piano will maintain his skills, so setting up a routine where Nathan practices right after breakfast would be a fabulous way of keeping his skills sharp.
In addition, you may want to:
- Sit and have your morning cup of coffee while listening to Nathan play. Children love an audience and will practice more diligently if someone is listening.
- If you will be away on holidays, see if you can find a friend or relative’s piano that can be used for a few practice sessions. If not, bring along his piano book and have him “tap practice” (I’ve taught him how to do this) and/or complete a score study on his pieces.
- Every time you have friends or relatives over for a summer get-together, ask Nathan to play for them. Having a mini-performance goal is a great motivator to hop on the piano a few extra times.
- Play piano games with Nathan on those warm summer evenings. He’d love to teach you how to play his favorite games and you’ll likely learn a lot in the process!
I have set Nathan up with a lot of fun summer material, including several pieces he’s been asking to play, a summer composing project using the “Castaway Kip and the Magical Motives” book and a couple of piano games he can borrow for the summer. These should provide the motivation he needs to have fun at the piano.
Your help in keeping Nathan motivated and practicing regularly is much appreciated, and I know Nathan will be thankful for his efforts come the fall. If you have any questions at all, please let me know!
Enjoy your summer,