How To Get Ready For Music Class After The Summer Break
After you’ve spent weeks doing fun summer activities and have taken a long break from your studies and music practice, going back to school and getting back into the swing of things in music class can be a challenge. In fact, if you’ve neglected to practice over the summer, you’re going to need to do a few things to get ready for music class before you go back. This is true for students who’ve relaxed their practice regime, or teachers. Summer activities are necessary for our peace of mind, and our productivity, but you have to be able to shift your mindset back towards work when summer is over.
Students and teachers can get ready for music class by concentrating on a few key endeavors. This type of preparation will help smooth the transition and make learning new concepts easier for students and teachers after your summer freedom is gone.
There’s always a little learning curve when you meet a classroom full of new student musicians. However, you can get ready for music class by planning some fun music games and ice breaker activities for the first few days. Introducing new concepts is easier if rather than sitting at their desks, students can get up and move around. In fact, that’s a great technique for any type of subject. Finding musical games that involve kinesthetic learning help students connect with the material and each other, as a group. You can discover many game ideas online. Check out the National Association for Music Education’s website, as well as the American String Teachers Association (ASTA) for great music games and classroom ideas.
Decorating your classroom is another great way to get ready for music class. You want to include interesting artwork, pictures of famous musicians (retro posters of rock icons go over pretty well), and other types of musical decorations. Your students will feel more like a group if you can create an interesting learning environment.
Other ideas include:
- Printing off learning aids for games and activities
- Preparing equipment that will allow you to play music in the classroom
- Outlining a recital schedule. Even small gatherings go a long way toward building your student’s enthusiasm for practice and their desire to excel.
Student Tips and Tricks
If you’ve been neglecting your instrument practice over the summer break, obviously you’ll want to open up your case, check you instrument for any damage, and tune up your strings. Depending on how long your instrument has sat idle, you may even need to take it in to your local violin shop to have a professional set up performed. If the soundpost has shifted, or your strings are grossly out of tune, you can get ready for music class by having a luthier give it a once over.
After you’ve tuned your violin (or other string instrument), you’ll need to do a little bit of practicing to get back in the swing of things. However, don’t forget to perform warm-up exercises and take breaks during practice times. Since you’ve been neglecting your practice, you don’t want to accidentally cause a sprain or another type of overuse injury. In addition, pay very close attention to your form and posture. It can be easy to slack off on maintaining proper form, especially if you haven’t played your instrument in a while. Good posture also helps prevent injuries.
You may want to refresh your memory by playing some music games online, or downloading a free music app for your mobile device. This list includes both android and iOS apps, but you can search for new ones on Google Play and the iTunes store. The Sight Reading Factory offers thousands of exercises for free that you can perform on your iPhone or iPad, and their website has tons of resources available for musicians of all levels.
Grab a few friends and have a jam session. If this is your second or third year of music training, you probably know a few friends who also play an instrument. Playing with other musicians builds your skills and helps renew your enthusiasm, reminding you why you chose your particular instrument in the first place.
Although summer might seem too short, if you use your time wisely and get ready for music class, your progress will be that much further when the next summer rolls around. And, by focusing your attention back on your instrument and planning properly, you can make great strides throughout the upcoming year.