There are two sorts of people: those who are connected in some way to the academic year and have a summer break, and those whose life goes on as usual, regardless of the summer. This post is for the summer break people: parents and students and whoever else gets that chunk of unstructured time whether they like it or not.
Here is one way of looking at it: The long school year has ended. After all those months of hard work, the summer break is a well deserved down time. It should be used to relax, rest and have fun. No chores, no piano practice (ha, now you know where I am heading...) just taking things easy and letting go.
A different approach would be more like: After that long period of having a cramped and busy schedule the summer break gives you the option to master your own time. You can decide how to structure your days, decide what to concentrate and focus on, have the freedom to do things you never have time for during the busy school period and tank up on fresh energy.
If you go for the 2nd option, the summer break is a great opportunity to spend time at and around the piano. Here are a few suggestions for enriching your summer break with piano related activities:
Play older pieces
The summer break is a good opportunity to play older pieces you liked in the past but have not been playing lately. You may have to invest a bit of time in relearning them again but they will come back quickly if you played them well earlier.
Sight-read easy pieces
This is the time to take out books that are a few levels below your current one and read and play through them. You may have pop songs or movie theme collections that wouldn't be worth practicing properly but would be fun to browse through while improving your sight reading at the same time.
Listen to classical piano music
Listening to good players perform classical piano piece can be very inspiring. Even if the pieces are still too hard for you to play at this point, listening to them will broaden your horizons immensely. You will enjoy beautiful music, discover new composers and maybe set yourself some goals to play in the not too far future.
Make up your own music
Let your fingers and imagination take you on an adventure. Try playing only on the black keys, mixing in some white keys or experimenting with sounds and patterns. Play around with the blues scale and add a few chords. Take a piece you know and change its rhythm, add some notes, etc.
Read about famous composers and musicians
If you google names of famous composers you may be surprised to see how dramatic and eventful their lives were. Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin and Schumann had especially interesting lives, but so did many others.
Take a few piano lessons in the break
All of the ideas mentioned above can help you stay connected to the piano independently and generally. Add a couple of piano lessons to this and the summer will be a combination of both a relaxing time and a boost to your piano playing.
Pianoways will be back with a new blog post in mid August.
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