Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Importance of Summer Lessons

I know that most piano teachers take summers off, but there is so much to be lost in doing so! I always encourage my students to continue throughout the summer for the following reasons:

1.Do the Math

Since summer break is only three months long, one would assume that three months is all that is lost when a student takes that time off, but it is really much more than that. It breaks down this way:

3 months of potential progress lost due to not having lessons for three months.
At least 3 months (usually more) of review work lost due to not practicing --or practicing very little-- for three months.
At least 6 months (usually more) of future progress lost due to the time it takes to re-learn the material lost over the summer.

Thus the 3 month break is actually the equivalent of at least 9 months of lost lessons.

2. The Frustration Factor

Most students look forward to having a long break, but once fall comes, they quickly learn just how much of their hard work they have wasted. It is so frustrating to a student to have to re-learn all that they had worked so hard to learn the first time, especially for students to whom learning new things comes with great difficulty. They are in so much of a hurry to catch up that usually the material is not learned nearly as well the second time, and it is often very easily lost. Students who are re-learning often have to be very careful to review their material every day, or else they forget it. It is a frustrating experience for the students, parents, and teachers alike.

3. Monetary Loss

As a parent (or adult student), you pay hard-earned money for your lessons. In taking a quarter off, you not only lose at least 9 months of lessons, you also lose 9 months worth of wasted tuition. You are, in effect, having to pay for the same lessons twice!

4. No One is Immune

You may be tempted to think that it would be different for you or your child, but don’t be deceived! Even my all-time most faithful and diligent students have not been able to keep all that they had learned over the summer. No matter how faithful you intend to be, summer is a busy time, and without the accountability of weekly lessons, practicing will always fall by the wayside.