7 Ways to Continue Improving Musically During Summer Vacation

Hurrah! You’re nearly done with another year of school, and the freedom of summer is so tantalizingly close!

This clarinet is too cool for school! (Sunglasses by Vandoren USA)

Summer vacation is a time for rest, relaxation, and recharging – but not relearning everything you worked so hard to achieve during the school year! The freedom summer presents is a double-edged sword – it’s great for impromptu decisions, but the lack of a structured schedule can derail event the most valiant motivational efforts.

Here are a few ways you can keep your chops up (in proper band director lexicon) and stay musically motivated during the summer:

  1. Practice. Sounds obvious, but I’m always surprised to hear how many students want to improve (or at least maintain) their abilities – but don’t practice regularly. If anything, practicing should be easier during the summer since you can use the time you’d normally be at school to practice. You don’t have to practice every day, but create a practice routine that’s consistent and easy to stick to throughout the summer.
  2. Find a practice buddy. If you’re lacking motivation, recruit a practice buddy (through social media or IRL) to hold you accountable. Stay in touch and encourage each other to practice consistently so you both improve during the summer and beyond.
  3. Join a practice challenge. Social media is a great tool to connect with other musicians, receive (mostly) constructive criticism, and commit to practice challenges. There are many practice challenges, whether you decide to do the #100daysofpractice or tailor similar challenges to your own preferences. (I’ve also created several Boot Camps for clarinetists in which you can complete standard clarinet studies in just one month!)
  4. Attend a festival or conference. For musicians, summertime=festival time. There is no shortage of summer festivals or conferences for every niche of music, so do some research and find one that sparks your interest.
  5. Join a community band or orchestra. Reach out to local ensembles to find groups you’d like to join. Not only will this help you maintain a regular rehearsal schedule, but you’ll also meet other local musicians. Win-win!
  6. Take private lessons. For tailored feedback personalized to your musical abilities and goals, consider taking private lessons. Qualified teachers can help you create practice plans to maximize your improvement. (FYI – I give Skype clarinet lessons to students of all ages and ability levels if you’d like to study with me this summer!)
  7. Stay motivated. Summer is the time to recharge and re-emerge rejuvenated and ready for another year! Listen to podcasts by other musicians, find blogs that inspire you (perhaps this one? ?), connect with a musical community on social media, and find other channels to remind yourself why you pursue music in the first place. Nurture this spark throughout the summer and beyond!

I hope these tips help you improve and stay motivated this summer! Happy practicing!

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