Believe it or not, summer vacation is not far off. Students are undoubtedly excited about that, and for piano teachers and the parents of young piano players, summer provides hidden opportunities for growth. Learning the piano is a fun experience for everyone involved, but it also takes a real commitment. For those unable to continue lessons during the summer, it can be a challenge to keep up.
“When students don’t have the regular accountability of seeing their teacher, they don’t really practice,” says Jennifer Moorhatch, a private piano teacher and J.W. Pepper’s school choral editor. “Some regular accountability is very important to maintain any kind of healthy practice habits. Go to lessons when you can during the summer, and make piano practice a part of your regular daily routine on summer days.”
Here are some helpful resources that can enable you to do just that:
Piano Course Value Packs from Alfred
It’s a good idea to have a variety of materials on hand to keep your young musician engaged. This can include lesson, theory, and recital books. The simple way to check all those boxes at once is with Piano Course Value Packs from Alfred. Each of the early levels has a corresponding value pack with lessons, solos, and a theory book that follows the lessons page by page for easy reference. The solo books contain a variety of children’s songs – enough to keep most anyone playing through the summer.
Of course, summer lasts quite a long time, so one set may not be enough to hold a young learner’s attention until weekly lessons resume. To help keep them practicing every day, Alfred also carries recital packs with classic piano repertoire and music from many other genres.
Of course, you might not always be close to a piano during the summer, especially if you take a vacation away from home. To keep your pianist’s mind sharp, try the Bastien Theory Boosters series. The concepts explored range from naming the white keys in Book 1 to naming accidentals in Book 12, so there is something for anyone in the early stages of learning. Each game, puzzle, maze, or riddle in the series focuses on a single theory concept, reinforcing what they already know and making the often tedious task of memorizing principles enjoyable.
“My 15-year-old piano student likes the Theory Boosters series because the lessons are short, sweet and to the point,” says Crystal Desch, a private piano teacher. “She needs extra help with theory, and these books allow her to supplement her normal weekly lesson assignments without taking up all her limited practice time!”
Music Crossword Puzzles and Games
For fun activities lighter on theory that still keep music front and center in your young musician’s mind, the Music Crossword Puzzles and Games book is a great choice. It is full of interesting information as well as quirky tidbits about music history and important composers. This book is perfect for longer car rides, flights, and traveling in general; these puzzles can be taken and enjoyed anywhere your young pianist goes!
Try Playing Duets
If your young pianist has a friend who is also learning the instrument, take the opportunity to turn practice time into a play date. Friends make just about every experience better and creating music with one can help make playing during the summer even more enjoyable. The Famous and Fun Pop Duets series has some great selections for early beginners to intermediate students. More advanced players might enjoy C.S. Theme & Variations as well as Lady Gaga Fugue.
Give Them a Good Variety of Styles
Variety helps students stay focused and having fun, whereas just one or two books might give the impression that a quick play through every now and then is enough.
As Moorhatch puts it, “Keep it fun, keep it flexible – but keep it up!” Go through these lists of different styles and genres together and see what interests them!
Last, but definitely not least, it is vital for teachers and parents to communicate with one another about what lessons and activities are right for where your child is in his or her learning. Get the conversation started by sharing this blog with one another and discussing these great resources!