Use It Or Lose It: Tips To Keep Your Child Engaged in Music During The Summer
Music education offers a range of benefits for children’s development, which we discussed extensively in our previous blogs (check them out here). Throughout the school year, your child’s hectic schedule made it easy to be consistent with their music lessons. But now, they have two months without a routine – how can you keep your kids engaged in music during the summer vacation, without ruining their fun?
In this article, we outline effective strategies and approaches to keep your kids involved and engaged in their learning and ensure that their musical skills stay sharp.
The Forgetting Curve And Its Influence On Learning Loss
CCoined by German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus, the forgetting curve refers to the rate at which we forget ideas over time when they’re not reinforced or revisited. After learning something new, students remember 100% of it immediately and remember less and less of it as time goes on (58% after 20 minutes, 44% after an hour). After a day, it reaches about 34%, meaning we forget up to 66% of what we have just learned!
As time goes on, the rate of forgetting slows down, but even after 30 days or 2 months, a significant portion of the ideas are lost. This applies to both adults and children. The exact percentage of skills retained after extended periods depends on various individual and contextual factors, such as how meaningful the memory was (for instance, music students who had a breakthrough on their instrument created a stronger memory than those who went through the motions of playing or reviewed music skills they already learned); it also depends on physical factors, such as stress or lack of sleep; and whether or not the idea was reinforced through repetition.
Will My Child Forget Their Music Skills If They Take a Long Break?
While most families choose to keep their summer learning consistent, a handful of families may choose to take a break for different reasons – those who choose to take a break during the summer months are at risk of experiencing learning loss. However, by understanding the principles of the forgetting curve, we can overcome it. Engaging in music activities, and practicing regularly at home reinforces your kids’ learning – extending the retention period of their music skills and ensuring they don’t lose the progress they’ve made during the school year.
Look at the visual below and notice how frequent review of the skills learned improves the retention period significantly, compared to no review at all:
So How Do I Keep My Child Engaged in Music During the Summer Vacation?
Summer is the perfect time for kids to deepen their love for music, and we want to share with you some of the ways our parents have seen their kids become the most engaged with music in the summer. By making the most of their time, they truly fall in love with music:
Summer Music Lessons
Music lessons during the summer vacation are a fun way to sneak in extra playing time for your child. A lot of our families actually intensify their musical pursuits during the summer, taking advantage of the child’s free time and focusing on their instruments of choice. With the extra space and time available, the season becomes an enjoyable opportunity for making significant progress with music. Additionally, the flexibility of the summer schedule allows kids to attend music lessons at different times of the day when they would typically be in school. This may result in them being more energized to play and will create a more conducive learning environment.
Summer music lessons are by far the most effective way to overcome the forgetting curve, as the kids will refine their skills in a guided way with their instructor. From experience, summer proves to be a fantastic time for musical growth and exploration, fostering a deeper passion for music in your child. We recommend summer lessons to keep your kids connected to their musical education.
Exploring A New Instrument
Summer can also provide an opportunity to reflect on your child’s progress and learning goals: Maybe learning to play a new instrument will during the summer will re-invigorate their passion towards their music lessons, or solidity their passion for their current principal instrument. And if it keeps them busy during the summer too – it’s a win-win!
Try Composing Your Own Songs!
Fostering your children’s creativity is crucial year-round, but the freeness of the summer can really open up their minds and inspire them to create. Writing their own melodies or songs is a great way to empower your child to express their emotions. Give your child a chance to explore songwriting and composition on their instrument as a part of their practice during the summer – it’s a magical way for them to discover storytelling and gain confidence in their musical abilities, and they are working on their instrument technique without even knowing it!
If lessons are not possible for some reason during summer, using the summer months to review old pieces that the child worked on throughout the year with their teachers would also be a great choice to maintain your kids’ learning. This can help them solidify foundational skills, thus avoiding learning loss. Additionally, it instills a sense of structure during an otherwise fluid time period.
Moreover, keeping a regular practice schedule makes it much easier for kids to transition back to a more structured way of life when school resumes in the fall. We recommend devising consistent practice routines during the summer, even as regularly as once a week, to maintain your child’s progress and ensure a smoother transition into the school year.
Make it Fun!
Turning practice time into a game or activity is a great way to encourage your child to practice. For example, you could try hosting “mini-concerts” at home, and inviting their friends to watch them showcase their hard work! This will foster a love for performing and improve their social skills.
Find creative ways to engage in musical play with your child, like reading a musical story or utilizing board games and learning apps: It will introduce variation into their practicing, maintain their attention span and give learning a unique twist.
Incorporate Music Organically In Your Child’s Life
Alongside summer learning and practicing, playing music with your child and integrating it into their day-to-day will not only boost their musical development but will create long-lasting memories for your kids and foster their love for music. Here are a few ways to keep your kids busy while integrating music into their lives throughout the summer:
Boston Activities During Summer Break
Encourage your kid to engage in local music activities! Boston has a vibrant music scene with festivals, concerts, and summer programs for you to enjoy with children. Keep an eye on community event websites for summer musical activities in Boston, and consider taking your child and inviting their friends.
Collaborate Will Their Music Teacher
Parents who are unsure whether their children are spending enough time practicing during the summer days may want to consult the child’s teacher. Their teacher can provide great practice materials for them to play through during the summer and keep their musical skills sharp until the next school year begins. Planning your kid’s summer learning with their teacher ahead of time can be a serious game changer!
Summer Learning Loss? Not Here!
Hopefully, the strategies outlined in this article help you view the summer vacation as a great opportunity for your child to explore and grow musically. If it’s difficult to keep your children engaged in music with summer lessons: find activities for them that combine music with fun and encourage them to try new things. By nurturing their passion during this break, they’ll fight summer learning loss, discover new talents, and embark on a transformative journey of self-expression.
If you liked this article – we put out educational content like this in our newsletter – consider joining our mailing list! If you’re taking a break from MP during the summer, we look forward to seeing you back in the fall! And if you’re ready to join Boston’s number 1 club for music lovers, book a call with us and we’ll get you started. Happy learning!