Summer piano lessons - Should you take a break?

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Postby Stretto » Fri May 23, 2008 8:44 pm

Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Editor wrote:
Stretto wrote:Well, anyway, I've thought about it for the last 2 or 3 summers and next summer I am definitely going to go with my idea of charging a one time fee for the entire summer semester payable at the beginning of the summer whereby a student can come when they can and if they don't come some weeks, they don't. It will be set in such a way as if they come every week they will get the equivalent of 4 "free" lessons. If they miss some weeks, they won't be penalized for up to 4 missed lessons. Basically those who come every week are rewarded, those who miss up to 4 weeks in the summer aren't paying for it.

I think this is a great idea. It's important for people to continue practice and lessons through the summer. You've come up with an approach which rewards people for taking lessons in the summer.

Funny to read my old posts! Yes, I did go ahead and implement the idea last summer and it worked out great. I charged a one time fee for the summer due by the beginning of the summer session. The fee was for the amount of 7 lessons although there were 11 lessons (or weeks) total a student could come. It worked out great and parents loved it. I liked it really well too. (They still have to notify me if they will miss a lesson since I have a standard $10 no show fee anytime of the year. I've never had to actually charge anyone the fee.)

I've thought about doing some kind of piano "camp".
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Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Sun May 25, 2008 7:40 am

Stretto wrote:Funny to read my old posts! Yes, I did go ahead and implement the idea last summer and it worked out great.

Yes, I sometimes like to revisit these "oldies-but-goodies" when it seems helpful or appropriate to do so. Summer is a great time to make real progress for students who have other school and activity commitments during the other parts of the year. I can see the argument for taking some time off. But, given what testing reveals about how much kids lose over the summer of what they learned in public school in the winter, it seems like it's probably not a good idea, from an educational standpoint, to take time off in the summer from piano.
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Postby Tranquillo » Mon May 26, 2008 12:47 am

Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Editor wrote:
Stretto wrote:Funny to read my old posts! Yes, I did go ahead and implement the idea last summer and it worked out great.

Yes, I sometimes like to revisit these "oldies-but-goodies" when it seems helpful or appropriate to do so. Summer is a great time to make real progress for students who have other school and activity commitments during the other parts of the year. I can see the argument for taking some time off. But, given what testing reveals about how much kids lose over the summer of what they learned in public school in the winter, it seems like it's probably not a good idea, from an educational standpoint, to take time off in the summer from piano.

Interesting ... I take the summer off as a student and what it does to me is makes me crave for lessons to begin again.

To me, one the holidays I don't really take a "break" I still learn just not from my teacher, I meet other teachers and go to many concerts and many music festivals. I discover things that I don't often look into when I take lessons. Its really interesting when I look into different areas on my holidays. I perform, compose, read and try out repertoire that I would normally not look into. Due to having no time constraints having this freedom to discover new things is very exciting and fun.

I think teachers would do well to encourage going to concerts, performing, reading and composing. Its an area that I truly enjoy as a student ...
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Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Thu Jun 05, 2008 8:13 am

Becibu wrote:To me, one the holidays I don't really take a "break" I still learn just not from my teacher, I meet other teachers and go to many concerts and many music festivals. I discover things that I don't often look into when I take lessons. Its really interesting when I look into different areas on my holidays. I perform, compose, read and try out repertoire that I would normally not look into. Due to having no time constraints having this freedom to discover new things is very exciting and fun.

Although I'm certainly not suggesting that people take the summer off from piano as a whole, or lessons in particular, I do think it's possible to take a break from lessons, if you use the time that has been freed up to do other piano-related things. The examples you've cited are good ones. I just think people need to remember that they have to continue practice and learning, if they do take the summer off. If they need lessons to motivate them to practice, then people should not take a break during the summer.
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Postby nmpiano » Sat Jun 07, 2008 11:37 am

I teach all year. Time off for my own vacations. Missing lessons is the student's choice. During the summer some will change the time or day. Piano lessons are not on a school schedule. Bottom line -- the student's advancement continues with every minute they spend with me. They should feel that way about anything they want to get good at, and all teachers should see it that way, too.



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Postby Tranquillo » Tue Oct 28, 2008 5:41 am

I find sometimes its hard to cope with so much on my plate taking a break seems like the easiest resort, then I think its not the best because I am vulnerable to lose skills, technically speaking.

I find doing two instruments sometimes I find myself progressing on one instrument and maintaining the other. Both my teachers are understanding of this and strongly emphasize to me to "keep the technical work up" just so no skills are lost.

This really helps ... Taking a break isn't really harmful it depends on how much the deprivation leads to.
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Postby sonicscape » Fri Nov 07, 2008 9:29 am

A summer break is essential for me to 'replenish the well' (both in creativity and patience!)

For students to play good music, they need to listen to good music - and the summer affords them the time to take in the sort of outdoor concerts for which they otherwise do not have the opportunity during the rest of the school year.

The winter here is long, dark and cold enough as it is. I see nothing wrong in savouring the summer to breathe in the fresh air and enjoy the sunshine. It is healthy for both teacher and student alike.
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