Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Tips to make music lessons & practice a breeze this summer

As the weather gets nicer and we head into summer, are you having a hard time getting yourself or your child to stick with music lessons and practice? You already know that consistent weekly lessons--and practice in between--are vital to get you to your musical goals. So how do you beat the summertime blues and start making your musical dreams come true? Two of our top instructors, Shea Ellis and Christie Conticchio, were kind enough to share some of their expert advice for students and parents who need a little help getting into the music lesson and practice groove this summer.

Have you ever noticed that sometimes the hardest part of practicing is simply getting yourself to start? Guitar and ukulele instructor Shea Ellis has several great recommendations to help you get started!

· Have fun with your instrument and try being creative. To spice up your practice routine, write a song. Song writing is easy and fun, if you don’t overthink it, and can open many new doors for your playing.
· Choose to learn songs that you love, songs that pull you to your lessons and drive you to practice each day because you want to hear them!
· Call it playing, not practicing; playing is fun but practicing sounds like work. You never want to lose the element of fun!
· Remind yourself to practice by scheduling reminders on your phone or putting up post-its, whatever works for you.
· Make a practice schedule or calendar and mark the days that you practice.
· Get inspired to play by looking up information about a favorite musician. Even the greatest musicians are human just like you and none of them turned into famous geniuses overnight.

If you’re having trouble committing time to music this summer, voice and piano teacher Christie Conticchio has more great advice for you or your child to stay on track:

· Get involved with an activity or project that uses your instrument, whether it’s joining a band, entering a competition, or covering a favorite song.
· For singers, vocal technique can be applied when you are silent or talking, pretty much any time! You can work on your technique while you are doing other things such as talking to friends, texting, watching TV, riding in the car, on the computer, walking, standing, on a plane, etc.
· Find a way to add practice to your routine. Make it the first thing you do when you get home from camp or play for a few minutes before heading off to the beach or summer job each morning.
· On any instrument, it’s okay to play in short bits of time. Five minutes here and there can add up and even a little bit of practice is better than none at all.
· Make sure you and your kids see live music! Being exposed to music in the real world will inspire you to play, too. Summer is an awesome time to go see live music, as there are so many outdoor venues, from parks to band stands to stadiums.

Hopefully these tips will help you or your child get more from music lessons this summer. And remember, North Main Music has a bunch of summer activities to help you and your child stay motivated this summer, such as the Sizzlin’ Summer Cover Song Contest, North Main Music Night at the Fisher Cats, and our Rock Camp. So turn practice time into play time and watch as musical challenges become easier and easier!

Do you have any other tips for music students this summer? Share them with us in the comments!

Top left photo: Damon and Shea at the Spring 2015 student concert.
Bottom right photo: Christie and Nora at the Spring 2015 student concert.
Photo credits: Robyn Neville.

Adapted from this article on takelessons.com.

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