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Music practice over summer break - what do your kids do?

(27 Posts)
Lovage Fri 18-Jul-14 15:03:06

DS(7) usually does 5 minutes every morning, straight after brushing his teeth. He came up with this system himself, so I don't usually need to remind or nag him (astonishing! I never did regular practice for any of my instruments). But he does occasionally skip it at the weekend because he's less in a routine on non-school days. I can imagine he might quite often want to skip it in the holidays, which I think is probably fine, although I worry a bit about him loosing his hard-earned callouses if he doesn't touch his guitar for 6 weeks.

What do your kids do about practice over the summer break and what do you do (if anything) to influence that?

Wafflenose Fri 18-Jul-14 17:56:43

I always hope that DD1 will seize the opportunity to make up for lost time... does she heck!! Unfortunately, she is now waaay behind where she needs to be with theory, so after a few days away (coming up soon - yippee) she is going to do 20 mins recorder, 20 mins flute, 20 mins theory a day. If she does this with no complaints or backchat (she's 8 going on 14) I will match this in computer time.

DD2 is quite a bit younger, and a relative beginner on her two instruments, but I think I'll suggest 15 mins each per day. She is much more amenable than her sister!

Of course, we'll miss days if we all go out and get back late, etc, but I hope to start some kind of routine which we can then keep going next term. I've been so busy with work lately that it's been very hit and miss. DD1 went to her flute lesson yesterday and realised she'd only practised once during the week - oops! Although she did have a long rehearsal and a concert on Tuesday.

Ishouldbeweaving Fri 18-Jul-14 20:54:49

Most of his playing is outside school so continues through the summer. His theory lessons continue in the holidays so homework for that continues too.

The thing that changes in the holidays is that he has more free time so he can put in more time on improving technique. Instrument practice will be half an hour a day every day apart from Sunday (when he has two band practices) and he'll probably skip Saturday if he's had a concert. He has agreed to this, my job is to point out that it's not happened. We do it every school holiday and it works well enough, if we've been out for most of the day I'll let it slide.

morethanpotatoprints Fri 18-Jul-14 21:00:00

My dd continues as usual anything between 2 and 5 hours a day.
They're all different though.
The main thing is them wanting to do it, and I think if it came down to having to cajole, bribe, reward etc I'd throw in the towel. They have to want to do it, imo.

Lovage Fri 18-Jul-14 21:25:22

Thanks that's interesting. This is our first long break since he started having proper lessons, so it's all new terrain for us. He doesn't have lessons at school but his teacher only teaches in term times - which suits us as he'll be away quite a lot of the summer anyway with holidays and grandparent-visits.

I really don't want to get into nagging or cajoling territory, which is why I'm so delighted with routine-ised 5 minutes a day. Maybe he'll do longer when he isn't clock-watching to check that he'll still get some drawing time before we leave for school? We shall see...

morethanpotatoprints Sat 19-Jul-14 17:54:42


I think the trick is to let them play what they want to rather than making them do set pieces, its a lot of fun and the hours soon go by before they realise they have had a thorough practice. grin

NannyPeach Sat 19-Jul-14 22:55:01

We carry on as usual and try to do a bit more when can, especially when there will be days when practise can't be done. Dd (10) is working on grade 7 violin,so will probably spend around an hour a day during the holidays when she has a bit more time. Ds (7) has grade 2 Violin in a few weeks and practises for around 20-30mins a day.

lecherrs Sun 20-Jul-14 09:35:00

My DD has been learning the violin for the past year. Her teacher tells her to practise each piece she has been given (usually 2/3) three times every weekday. The pieces at the moment are quite short, so it doesn't take long. That works for us!

LooseAtTheSeams Sun 20-Jul-14 09:48:34

We have a long break before lessons start again in late September but DS1 has lots to practise. A good suggestion from his teacher was to choose 2 scales a week to focus on while also playing as much from the grade 3 flute repertoire as he can manage. (If you play flute you have to keep playing - it's painful to come back to after a long break!)

DS2 has passed grade 1 piano and I have some easy pieces for him to play over the summer but emphasizing playing for fun now the exam is over! He needs to do more practice on cello, really, to start preparing for grade 1 next term.

ohtobeanonymous Sun 20-Jul-14 18:13:34

More than - 'as usual' up to 5 hours a day?!! Impressive! Mine barely manage an hour each day for music around school, homework, rehearsals and other clubs and sport during the term.

Holidays are better because they have more free time (but seem not to take the opportunity to practise for longer. Minecraft seems to appeal even more than their scales and technical exercises smile)

Oh and they will spend a whole day singing MT songs or preparing for their next BGT audition (!) but that isn't really practise IMHO.

Idontseeanyicegiants Sun 20-Jul-14 18:20:00

This is DD's first big holiday since starting her instrument so this is very informative for us!
She is going to aim for 10 minutes a day to practice her short pieces.

JimBobplusasprog Sun 20-Jul-14 18:42:59

Ds has just had a fortnight off following his exams. As his little brother has to write a holiday diary I've suggested he learns his g5 scales and play whatever he fancies. He's happy to do this and will play for about 15 mins unless he really gets into something.

Rabbitcar Sun 20-Jul-14 18:56:07

Ok you lot are scaring me. My DDs have NEVER practised over the summer. Ever. DD1 (13) is now working towards G7 flute and piano and DD2 (11) is working towards g6 piano and g5 saxophone. In term time they do maybe 15 mins of one instrument every two days. I nag them but they don't do any more.

Basically they enjoy their instruments but will never be musicians. They have mainly low distinctions and merits, which being totally unmusical myself, I'm impressed by, but are not at heart particularly musically gifted or anything. I'm just glad they are carrying on really, so if they don't touch their instruments over the summer, I'm ok with it, as I think they need a break from everything, school work and music.

Am very impressed by the pp whose DD does between 2 and 5 hours a day. My DDs do that on Instagram.

I know I should be stricter with their music, but I don't have the energy.

nigerdelta Sun 20-Jul-14 18:57:11

Dd will probably do about 10 minutes/week. angry Maybe 20 minutes/week in term time as avg.

Rabbitcar Sun 20-Jul-14 19:03:24

Thank you niger, I am not alone!

nigerdelta Sun 20-Jul-14 19:10:52

Ditto, Rabitcar!!

CanaryYellow Sun 20-Jul-14 19:16:53

It'll me nigh on impossible to prize DS's guitar out of his hands when the holidays start.

He's played/practised for about 4 hours today on and off.

His tutor has set him a 15 minute per day practise routine and he goes through that at least three times a day.

NannyPeach Sun 20-Jul-14 20:12:22

My dd (10) is pretty focused at the moment -she is away at National children's orchestra in August, so has quite a bit to work on for that, plus beginning to prepare for the next NCO audition and starting to work on Grade 7 pieces. She did an hour on violin today as there is so much to get through and then around 20 mins working on grade 5 cello in the evening. I sit with her and Ds during their practise, which probably helps keep them going with it!

Taffeta Mon 21-Jul-14 20:17:56

My DD (7) has never been nagged to practice. She just likes it. She has her little area with her music stand and she just plays away when she's bored. That seems to be the trick, to get her bored. grin

She probably plays about 20 mins a day, but it varies depending on how bored she is. She's taking her instrument and music book on holiday tomorrow. She wants to play to the hotel guests. I fear we may be ejected. hmm

troutsprout Tue 22-Jul-14 12:41:06

About an hour a day in (usually) 2 or 3 slots
She mucks about on it a lot (makes up stuff or works out dance music on it- Calvin Harris on clarinet anyone?)and NO! I don't nag her to do it because a lot of it is painful to my ears!

morethanpotatoprints Tue 22-Jul-14 17:24:58


My dd is a freak grin sometimes you just have to tell her to shut up, but music is her life.
I made dh take her to the beach today, she will moan if she isn't back in time to do some practice, but 5 hours is too much, certainly not admirable.

Mistigri Tue 22-Jul-14 21:04:19

My dd (13) plays all the time anyway, holidays just mean she has a bit more time for music. She definitely plays more in the holidays than in term time. She doesn't "practise" though - she only plays for pleasure.

OldBeanbagz Thu 24-Jul-14 12:05:44

This is the first year that DD has had a music teacher outside of school so we've decided to continue with the lessons over the summer holidays. It always seems like she takes a backward step when she stops playing for several weeks.

DS had his piano exam at the end of the summer term so just a few fun pieces to play over the summer. I haven't heard him yet thoughg grin

Bookmonster345 Sun 27-Jul-14 11:44:36

DD1 (12) spends around an hour practicing three instruments: clarinet, recorder and piano, with no promting from me, each day.

DD2 (10) is very different and I am lucky if she practices at all!

JulieMichelleRobinson Sun 27-Jul-14 13:45:04

I have a 7yo student who'll be having lessons over the summer holidays... not being forced, and it won't be every week (have had two weeks off, if not three, and I'm away for ten days later on). She's the only one, though, apart from adults.

OTOH, the girl who started at the same time seems to be mucking around a lot - her parents are friends so I've been told about her 'recital' the other night and also that she's been working out tunes from Frozen. Ahem. Not bad for the first year, though!

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