Last week, I offered some suggestions for books to expand your playing repertoire this summer, but let’s be honest–after the year we’ve had, some of us are still trying to get back into the swing of things! That being said, how should we approach our playing while school is out? Let’s talk about it!

First of all, just play. Play something–anything! That’s the first step…just pick up your instrument and make some noise. Whether you’ve just finished your first year or your 21st year of flute playing, it’s easy to get into a rut if you don’t have daily or weekly assignments to work towards. Don’t get me wrong, it’s always fine to take some time off…as long as “some time” doesn’t turn into all summer! Dr. Tammy Evans Yonce says, “When school is over and we’re off on summer adventures, we often don’t have the benefit of regularly scheduled lessons with our teacher. The frequent encouragement and support received during those lessons is absent, and that can have an effect on our motivation. There is also much less accountability; if we know we won’t have the opportunity to check in with someone, the temptation to delay practicing is there. How can we stay motivated if our schedule has suddenly been turned upside down with travel, work, down time, pursuing other interests, and little to no contact with a teacher?” Simply put, you need to keep your chops and your fingers in shape, no matter how long you’ve been playing. This is especially important for middle school musicians, who have a ton of new information to retain.

So what’s the solution? Yonce has some suggestions in her article “A Summer Practice Plan,” including finding an accountability buddy, exploring repertoire of a particular time period, recording yourself, and planning a performance for sometime over the summer. Some of the books I highlighted last week are a great place to start, and I’m always happy to offer personalized suggestions based on your interest and ability level. Give me a call, comment below, or shoot me an email or social media message! Have a great summer!