Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Summer Piano Lessons

Summer piano (or any instrument) lessons are important.  I have a pretty strong opinion on this and spend the month of May urging my piano student parents that they should try to continue their child's lessons over the summer.  Here are my reasons:
  1. Summer is 1/4th of the year!  That's a lot of the year to miss.
  2. Lessons are a huge investment, why lose the momentum?
  3. Students digress, a lot!  Most students will take at least 3 months to return to where they left off in the spring - so now, you've really lost 6 months or 1/2 of the year!
  4. Because of number 3, you don't save money by taking the lessons off.  You will pay for 9 months and only get 6 months of progress.
  5. Often, children that take the summer off, lose their enthusiasm in the fall, and struggle to stay with it.  In my experience, these students don't come back, or they try and get frustrated with their backward movement, and end up quitting in the middle of the semester.
  6. In my studio, students who stay the summer, get first pick in the fall for lessons time slots!
I'm sure there are a lot of other reasons to continue piano lessons in the summer, but these are my top 6!  My summer schedule is much lighter and I try to make it more fun!  We do 3 lessons in June, 3 in July and then a Piano Party in August.  I add a lots of games and a piano lab for the summer.During those 6 lessons, this summer, I'm doing an Ice Cream theme for an incentive this summer.
I printed off the Ice Cream Cones and Scoops from the Summer Ice Cream Challenge.  I was pretty excited to find this resource for free!  My plan is to keep it simple - for each piece that my students check off to be "recital ready", they get a scoop of ice cream to add to their cone. 
Unlike Layton Music's suggestion to laminate the ice cream cones, I decided that we are only doing this for 6 weeks, and then I can just give each of my students their long ice cream cone to keep.  I plan to write all their pieces on the scoops as the pass, so they have a record of all they learned this summer.
I've offered a special prize to the student who gets the most scoops in the 6 weeks of summer lessons!  We have a snow cone stand in town, so I'm going to see if I can get a certificate from them, or an Icee certificate from the local gas station.
In addition to the most scoops, I'm ordering this set of Erasers to give out to all my students for participating:

I will hand out both at my Summer Piano Pop Party - where we will play lots of piano and music games and of course, eat ice cream sundaes! 

That's it!  Nothing more complicated.  Basically, if kids want to compete for the most scoops of ice cream, they will have to have meaningful practice throughout the week to pass their pieces!  I have quite a few students who are very competitive, so they will just thrive on this incentive.