Thursday, July 25, 2019

Tips for Staying Motivated to Practice in the Summer Months

We're more than halfway through summer vacation and by now you know all too well what happens when you take some time off from your music: the rust sets in pretty quickly! So what can you do to keep your music strong this summer, especially if you plan to audition for competitions, or try out for school orchestras, choirs, or bands this fall?

Whether you’re a parent who is concerned about keeping your child’s practice schedule maintained throughout the summer months, or a student who’s struggling to stay motivated, you’ve come to the right place. Many student musicians are on “vacation” until they’re back in the classroom in September, but taking a three-month break from an instrument is sure to set your progress back. With more time on your hands but less of a routine, the only way to ensure you or your child keeps practicing is to become more involved. Here are a few ways you can encourage yourself or your child to practice and progress.

Create a Rewards System

If your child participates in music lessons, you have two choices for the summer: keep them enrolled in private music lessons or stand-in as their teacher during the summer months (which is likely to be the opposite of fun). Taking lessons with a qualified instructor, such as one of our fabulous teachers at North Main Music, can help prevent that summer slump.

One thing many music teachers do to help motivate their students to practice is establish a rewards system. Some parents use a token system, while others get a bit more creative. Whether you create a number wreath or establish a different system that works for you and your family, it’s important that your child feels rewarded for a job well done. As for the rewards, they can be small rewards (ice cream cones or special treats) throughout the summer or one large reward (a family trip to a theme park) at the end of the season. Regardless of the rewards or the system, focus on encouraging your child to meet their goals throughout the summer.

Establish a Schedule

Consistency is key when it comes to setting a practice schedule. Unfortunately, the summer months aren’t usually as structured as the rest of the school year. For this reason, try setting a general time frame (instead of a set hour during the day) when you or your child should fit in their practicing. For example, instead of creating a schedule where you practice at 10 A.M. everyday, decide that practice needs to happen for 30 minutes after breakfast. Additionally, make sure your scheduled practice “time” works for you or your child. Some people concentrate better in the morning while others’ creative juices flow later in the afternoon. As long as practicing is consistent, that’s all that really matters.

Invite Friends to Mini-Performances or Join a Band

Student concerts and live performances throughout the school year help keep your child interested in and excited about their instrument, so how can you keep this excitement alive during the summer? Try putting on mini-performances for friends and family. If you’re new to the area or don’t live near a lot of family, you can be their audience. Just ask them to perform a new song for you once a week and act like it’s a real performance: pay attention, clap, and praise them for a job well done.

Whether it’s a Monday evening mini-recital or a Saturday afternoon jam session with their friends, they’ll look forward to impressing their friends and family with what they’ve learned each week. And, as an added bonus, you’ll enjoy the special time the two of you spend bonding over music.

At North Main Music, our group programs don’t go on hiatus during the summer--we practice all year round. So, if holding mini-performances in your living room isn’t your thing, we encourage you to join one of our bands, rock shows, the theatre program, or our acapella group. Being part of a group that’s counting on you can be excellent motivation to keep showing up and showing out for your band

Go to live music concerts

Challenge your listening skills in new ways. Watch how the musicians interact with the audience. Stretch your musical tastes.

Listen to music

Again, stretch your musical interests by listening to genres of music you’ve never heard before. Tune in to music you already know in new ways.

Do you have tips to add to the list? Let us know and we’ll consider quoting you (and giving you and your music a shout out as well.)

This article was inspired by and adapted from this article on and this one on