It’s finally summertime! For kids everywhere this means 3 glorious months of FREEDOM! A long-awaited respite from homework, sports practice, early mornings and math class has arrived and it's time for the pool, sandcastles and sleeping in.
But should summer also mean “freedom” from music lessons?
It’s certainly nice to make a clean break from all responsibility. But there are also some very distinct advantages to continuing with lessons over the summer months. We’ve broken down seven stand-out reasons to stick with your music lessons throughout the summer.
One of the most compelling reasons to keep music lessons going over the summer is maintenance of skills. Studies have shown that “summer loss” (or regression) is a very real phenomenon that stymies student development. Over 2 months worth of math and reading skills are lost over the summer, and 1 whole month of overall learning. What’s more, it takes approximately 2 months in the fall to catch back up!
But the good news? It only takes 2 - 3 hours of learning and study per week to prevent summer regression, and 2 months of subject-focused learning to actually improve upon existing skills. The summer gives you all the time you need to continue building and growing.
By continuing with weekly lessons or even biweekly lessons over the summer plus a healthy dose of of practice, students can reverse summer regression and actually improve on their skills during the otherwise lazy days of summer.
During the school year, there are endless tasks, chores, duties and homework for kids. Music lessons and practice easily get lumped into the drudgery. With homework, motivation is often external and deadline-driven. Wouldn’t it be nice if students were intrinsically motivated to practice and play music? If they took more ownership over their musical development?
By continuing over the summer, students may begin to see music lessons in a new light. Music lessons aren’t a “chore.” Rather, they’re optional, fun, and enriching. They're not another "to-do" but rather a personalized, challenging endeavor that serves as an escape, a portal for exploration and a creative outlet.
Rather than squaring up to the piano or strapping on a guitar after an 8-hours school day, the summer allows ample time and space for students to approach and enjoy music when it best suits them. There's less distraction from lessons and more time for self-directed practice and learning.
Plus, the flexibility of summer often allows for morning, weekend or evening lessons which might be more ideal.
One beauty of summertime is its lack of structure. But boredom and stir-craze can also quickly set in.
Having touch points and routines throughout the week, such as music lessons and practice time, help maintain a sense of structure amidst all of the free time. It serves as a nice “break” from brainlessness, and can become a time of focus to look forward to!
Speaking of “brainlessness,” music lessons are a wonderful way to trigger and develop myriad cognitive processes that might otherwise lay dormant in June, July and August.
Playing an instrument involves many parts of the brain including motor systems for fine and gross movements, auditory centers, sensory processing, visual interpretations and emotional responses.
Additionally, it’s been long studied and shown that skills developed in music lessons transfer to improved performance in unrelated subjects. Memory, language, creative thinking and multitasking all improve from musical development.
There’s nothing like music lessons for keeping the whole brain in shape throughout the summer!
Teachers maintain full schedules, ideally with strings of back to back lessons. When students drop out, their time slot is often filled for efficency's sake.
Students who don’t take breaks have a seamless flow from summer right into fall as they’re already in the schedule loop!
Finally, summertime is the perfect opportunity to create a hyper-focused “mini semester.” Three months is a super time frame for expanding your musical repertoire. With no deadlines in sight, you can tackle one really challenging piece and chip away at it all summer. Or you can get experimental and try a slew of fun pieces or genres outside of the box.
By treating summer is an exploratory semester, it can become a focused, fun and rewarding season for musical development!
While taking a break from music is certainly understable, there are some clear-cut benefits to maintaining a lesson routine throughout the summer months. From cognitive benefits to increased motivation and enjoyment, we think it’s a great idea!