Can I take a break from music lessons in the summer?

June 16, 2021

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Summer is made for children to enjoy their lives and just be kids – we completely support that! That said: is it a good idea to take a break from music lessons during summer break?

School aged children happily close their math and writing books at the end of the school year and don’t open the new ones until September. That doesn’t mean that during this time when students are not in school that they are idle! It’s highly unlikely that kids are not doing even a small amount of reading, writing, or math! In fact, parents often sign their children up for all types of summer camps. Summer programs for kids help them continue to learn new things and keep their brains and social skills sharp and ready.

As much as kids definitely need free play time, they also need intellectual stimulation and organized physical activities to keep their development on track. When considering pausing learning activities in the summer, it is important to consider the fact that your child may likely find themselves behind their peers in September when they return to school.

How does playing a musical instrument and the consistent lessons fit into this? First of all, continuing (or starting) to play a musical instrument in the summer is exactly the activity that will keep your child in great mental and physical shape. Playing a musical instrument combines very focused mental work with physical activity. Taking violin lessons may not wear you out the same way as a very physical sport such as running track. What music lessons provide instead is to teach the body some very complicated coordination skills and spatial awareness! These are all very good things for kids.

If your child has been taking music lessons during the school year, deciding to completely stop playing an instrument for the summer will drastically throw your child back in time with what they’ve learned thus far. Think about it this way: if a child completely stops playing in May or June and then restarts in September, it will take at least 2 months to get to the same level as they were before the break. So a 2 months long break actually causes a 4 month interruption in the overall progression. It also means that – sorry to say – you have wasted 2 months of paying for lessons because it is now necessary to backtrack and re-learn things that were already learned.

For both children and adults, long breaks from playing their instrument  have a negative effect. It’s important to “keep your chops up” if you want to continue to progress. When you take a long break, your playing skills do not miraculously remain at the same level when you return. The longer the break – the more you will forget both mentally and physically. 

Are there ways to avoid this scenario? Absolutely!  There is a wide range of alternative options depending on your situation. 

  • Take your musical instrument with you if you are away from home for a long time. With a good sturdy case, violins, guitars, flutes, etc. are very portable and easy to transport. If your instrument is piano, then it is totally worth investing in a portable keyboard that you can take with you. Trust us, you will pay more for your piano lessons playing catch up after a long break than what you would pay for a small traveling keyboard. 
  • Schedule consistent times to play your instrument. If you have access to your instrument during the summer, then make it a habit to play it. Remember, it’s better to have several shorter practice sessions multiple times a week than to have long but infrequent practices. 
  • Take summer music lessons with your teacher – even if only a few!  If you can do it in person – great! Online music lessons will definitely work too. Chances are you have already taken some of your music lessons remotely (thanks, 2020), so you know how to work with this format. Nothing beats in-person lessons when it comes to how much you can learn during the lesson, but remote lessons are still a hundred times better than trying to figure things out without your teacher’s guidance, or taking that full long break.
  • Set up specific goals for the summer months. Usually it would be learning a few songs, but you can also aim for learning scales, working on specific tecniques, and sight reading exercises. You could even make it a goal to get through a certain number of chapters in a music method book.

Do we recommend taking a break from music lessons in the summer? No. We recommend to keep your music skills in shape by avoiding long interruptions from practicing and taking lessons. Having to learn things you already learned often creates a sense of frustration. Go forward! Not backwards. RMS is flexible with scheduling music lessons in NYC in the busy summer months-we will work with you!


To sign up for music lessons in NYC or to contact us with any questions using the form at the link below:

(212) 247-4900
Riverside Music Studios - Midtown
1727 Broadway, Suite 2
New York, New York 10019

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New York, New York 10038