This is the perfect time of year to take a bit of pressure off our students (and ourselves) and focus on making each lesson fun! Maybe you are in the process of wrapping up your lessons before summer break? Or maybe you want to keep your students motivated to continue lessons over the summer months? Either way, today I will be sharing a few activities I will be doing with my students to make the most of the summer months!
1. Focus on fun repertoire.
With festivals and recitals over, now is the perfect time to get students involved with choosing fun summer repertoire. For my students that are taking a break from summer lessons, I create a list of a few books that are a level lower than their current repertoire (so they can be practiced independently over the summer) and I let them choose what they would like to work on. For students that will be taking summer lessons, we choose music we can work on together.
Favorite selections in my studio right now include Disney music, music from the “Legend of Zelda," and some of my own compositions! (Check out my publications page HERE--my rock and video game-inspired pieces are especially popular with my students in the summer, if I do say so myself!)
2. Explore composition.
I love working on composition projects with my students in the summer. I can devote lots of lesson time to helping them compose and notate their music without feeling guilty that I am not working on as much repertoire as usual. As a bonus, students’ theory skills improve tremendously as they write on the staff and review concepts such as time signatures, rhythmic notation, intervals, and chords. My less advanced students are especially enjoying my guided composition projects (found HERE on the “Free Stuff” page of my website).
3. Review games for the win!
Theory games and apps can be especially helpful for maintaining skills if your students are stopping lessons over the summer. I give parents a list of apps that I recommend students to use over the summer. Some of my favorites include:
- Note naming: Flashnote Derby, Note Rush
- Rhythm: Rhythm Swing, Rhythm Cat, RhythmLab
- General Music Theory: Tenuto (the content from this app can also be found for free online at www.musictheory.net)
- Sight Reading: Piano Maestro
4. Do a summer review challenge.
Encourage your students to keep up their skills with a fun summer review challenge! As I mentioned in my last blog post HERE, I created a summer review calendar for my students that includes a variety of challenges for each day in June and July. The challenges include: sight-reading a new piece, listening to a famous piece of music, improvising a piece, reviewing a favorite repertoire piece, and more! Click HERE to download the free summer review challenge calendars for June and July.
What do you think? What are you doing to keep your students motivated this summer? Any apps, games, or repertoire you recommend? Please leave a comment below—I would love to hear your ideas!