April 09, 2015
How to Become a Better Musician This Summer
School’s out for summer! Between the lemonade and swimming pools and staying up late, the last thing you’re probably thinking about is spending hours practicing your instrument. But, if you don’t, you’ll go back to school in September forgetting everything (okay, not everything…but a lot!) you learned during the school year. Besides carving out some time to practice, here are five things you can do to become a better musician this summer.
Attend a Summer Music Camp
No, you won’t leave summer music camp playing like a professional musician, but music is a lifelong journey and noticeable improvement takes time. But you already knew that, right? What you will develop at a summer music camp are skill sets that are unique to performing with groups, from honing in on your stage presence to improving your improvisation skills. There are larger summer music camps that you can fly to and will need to stay at overnight, and there are smaller ones closer to home that will be easier to get to. No matter which route you go, attending a summer music camp is fun and educational.
Form a Band
We wrote an entire article about this (you can check it out here), but here’s the short version: starting a band this summer will encourage you to interact with your friends while taking an active part in music. Let’s face it–summer can be lonely, especially if you don’t have siblings or live far away from the friends you hang out with at school. Well, starting a band can fix that! All you need to do is find some bandmates, decide on a genre, create a rehearsal space, and start jammin’. By the end of the summer not only will you have played your instrument all summer long, but you might just be ready for a record deal…or at least your first official performance.
Learn a New Instrument
Have you always wanted to learn the bass or the piano? Learning a new instrument takes a lot of time, which is why you can’t really do it during the school year. Luckily, you’ll have a lot more free time during the summer, so why not throw a completely new instrument into the mix? If you have a friend who plays an instrument you want to learn, why not meet up with them and switch instruments for the day? They can teach you a thing or two about their instrument, and you can return the favor. Not only will this make your brain think differently about rhythm, tone, and structure, but it’ll save your parents some money, too.
Hold a Fundraiser
Okay, so this won’t necessarily improve your skills as a musician, but it’ll introduce you to the world of fundraising–something most professional musicians aren’t unfamiliar with. As funding continues to be taken away from schools, fundraising has become critical for school bands and orchestras. If you’re worried about the future of your music program, or just want to help raise funds for a school trip or new instruments, team up with your teacher to hold a fundraiser over the summer months. It can be a fun (and productive!) way to interact with your music friends during the summer.
Last but not least, don’t forget to have fun. However you decide to practice over the summer, have some fun with it. Make time to play with other musicians, and don’t take yourself too seriously. Don’t just practice the difficult piece of music you intend to perfect by the fall; practice the songs you enjoy the most. And don’t forget to make some time for lemonade and swimming pools–summer will be over before you know it.