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.
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!