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Summertime (and the practice is easy)

June 4, 2014

Now that school is out, for most of us, it’s time for what can be the most enjoyable and productive time of year.  Do I sense doubt?  Stick with me.  During the school year, you are generally responsible for three types of music:

1)  Music your teacher assigns for lessons

2)  Music you will perform (school ensembles, recitals, etc.)

3)  Music you want to learn.

During the summer, numbers 1 and 2 don’t exist in the same way for most people.  This leaves more time for the area most people ignore when they get busy during the school year- #3.  So get to it.  Make a list of music you want to learn.  It can be anything- solos, transcriptions, tunes, excerpts, stuff you think everyone already knows except for you but you’re too embarrassed to admit it, etudes, etc.  Then get to work.  How many times have you heard something and thought, “wow, that’s cool…I’d love to be able to play that”?  Well, this is your chance.  Make a list of:

Music I Want to Learn

Of course, you must balance your musical practice with technical practice.  Summer provides a great opportunity to tackle the technical weaknesses that you are busy hiding during the school year hoping no one notices.  As I put it so delicately to my students here at Indiana, summer is the best time to make a list and practice:

What I Suck At

With these two lists you’ve got a full summer’s worth of stuff to practice.  When school starts in the fall, you can go back with confidence in the new music you’ve learned and the new skills you’ve integrated.

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