What to Practice Over the Summer

The semester is over, and you know you should keep practicing over the summer months, but playing band music from last year is getting boring pretty quick.  And is it really helping anyway? 

Here’s what you should be practicing over the summer:

  • Scales & Arpeggios.

    You had to know that was coming.  They are just so foundational that they should be played every time you unpack the instrument.  Every time.  Getting bored with playing them straight up and down?  Check into one of these books: Clarinet - Baermann Method 3rd Division; Sax - Hite Foundation Studies; Flute - George/Louke The Flute Scale Book. 

  • Etudes (Studies)

    There are so many great etude books that deal with technique, articulation, rhythm, expression… you name it.  Prepare and polish an etude every week.  (Also great for practicing sight-reading.)

  • Literature and/or Songs Just for Fun

    A movement of a concerto you heard on the radio.  A sonata your teacher recommended.  Your favorite Disney tunes.  Jazz standards.  Whatever it is, there is music out there for it.  Pick something that you think sounds fun.

  • Small Ensembles

    Have friends who play instruments?  Invite them over to play trios, quartets, duets, etc. (followed by pizza or ice cream!).   If you want to take it up a notch, your group can volunteer to play for a local nursing home.  It will be a great learning experience for you, and I guarantee you’ll brighten the day week of the residents.  

That should be enough to keep you busy, but not overwhelmed.  There’s plenty to do, so don’t leave your instrument in its case all summer - go enjoy playing!