Those Lazy Summer Days

When I was a teenager, during the summer months my piano teacher challenged us to practice three hours per day (a big jump from my usual one hour per day of practicing).

Admittedly, my younger sister and I would often spend at least an hour of those three hours practicing duets together (three hours is a long time when you've never practiced that long before!). I can still hear in my mind this Mozart duet we played for hours and for some reason we thought it was hilarious, and never took the piece too seriously. (It sort of reminded us of the ballroom scene in Roger's and Hammerstein's Cinderella where everyone is wearing purple.) Serious or not, it makes a good memory and we did have fun.

We also had this great duet we played (The All-American Hometown Band by Walter and Carol Noona - one of my absolute favorites duets - my husband and I play it all the time) where we would switch places on the piano bench in the middle of the song. To mix things up a bit, we decided to play it on two different pianos, and then switch pianos halfway through. Problem was, the pianos were in two separate rooms of the house. We would play the first half of the piece, then it was a mad dash through the house to switch pianos. We not only got in our required practicing time, but some good exercise :)

Boy am I glad my teacher had us practice more during the summer. Even though I didn't always get the three hours in (and I often would goof off with my sister for the last hour), it really taught me how to practice and prepared me for college. It helped me to be a much better, dedicated pianist. Thankfully I have great memories from it, and it was a wonderfully positive experience.

Summer can be an interesting time as a piano teacher. Because many students have much more time in the summer, piano study can feel a lot more relaxed (which can be good or bad...), and with this extra time the teacher can add in some fun, supplementary activities (or at least more practice time! bwah haha). There are also obstacles, such as students going out of town and missing more lessons than usual.

I personally was never involved in any special summer music camps or classes or activities (other than the increased practice time mentioned above). However, I do love to come up with fun summer ideas to use in my own studio, and hope to implement them in coming years.

What things do you do in your studio during the summer? Any special piano or theory "camps"? Fun classes? Practicing contests, fun recitals? Field trips? How do you handle lesson scheduling and missed lessons during the summer? Did your teachers ever do anything fun or exciting during the summer? How were your lessons different during the summer months? Did you ever attend any camps or festivals? We'd love to hear your experiences and ideas!

We'd even love to hear any fun summer piano memories (why not, I'm in a random mood). This one time, my sisters and I went to piano lessons on a summer morning, and somehow ended up downstairs watching a parade on tv with my teacher's cute, grandfatherly husband, eating bowls of Cheerios. Good times.

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