What I Did on My Summer Vacation
A Guide to Helping Your Child Practice During the Summer
When kids think about summer vacation, they envision all that comes with the warm weather and outdoor fun. But wouldn’t it be great if we could help them develop a desire to continue practicing and playing their stringed instrument during the break?
What follows are some helpful tips to keep your child’s instrument and abilities in tip-top shape and ready for their return to school in September.
- Help your child find something they love to play.
Playing a stringed instrument should spark joy in your child’s life. Playing the same exercises day after day may help perfect technique, but it can impede inspiration. Help your child identify a favorite piece of music and set aside time during the summer (preferably in the morning or evening, when it’s cooler) when you can sit down and listen to their playing. Making music is the goal, so take advantage of the freedom that summer brings by helping your child explore their passion for music making.
- Set goals. Young players often benefit from going into every practice session with a game plan. Isolating weaknesses and planning for improvement are essential. Celebrate small victories and remind your child that mistakes are merely an opportunity for learning, not a reason to put down the instrument.
- Set a schedule. Work with your child to develop their practice schedule. Why not suggest two practice sessions per week and one “family performance” night when they play for you and their siblings/friends to show off what they’ve learned? If you stay engaged, so will your child.
- Collaborate. Collaboration with others is the key to becoming a more expressive musician. Reach out to other parents in your child’s music class or student orchestra. If you live in the same neighborhood, schedule time for your kids to get together to practice duets or easy string quartets. Invite the other parents to your backyard for an impromptu concert and enjoy the music floating in the evening breeze!
- Don’t fall behind on maintenance. Summer can be a dangerous time for a stringed instrument. Make sure that your child keeps their instrument in its case and out of the sun when they aren’t playing. The absolute worst place to store an instrument is in the trunk of your car, which can easily reach temperatures approaching 100 degrees. Extreme heat could lead to cracks in the instrument. Expansion of the wood will also result in the instrument being out of tune. Avoid bringing the instrument to any place where it might get wet.
Above all, enjoy the summer vacation, and know that Johnson String Instrument is here to help you and your child should any need arise. Feel free to stop by our retail store in Newton Upper Falls to have a string replaced or the bridge repositioned.