Last week, the post 5 Low-Stress Ways to Stay Musically Active Over the Summer listed ways to stay active in music over the summer without the stressors of the school year. The post was received fairly well, and there has been some great conversation that has been taking place in the comments to that post, including a number of additional ideas for ways to extend this list. Thank you for everyone who shared their ideas–I encourage everyone to take a part in the conversations that take place in post comments. The posts are only half the conversation; let’s keep the conversation going past that!
Anyway, on to the list! I will continue my numbering from the previous post, so first up is number 6…
6. Perform Your Instrument!
Summer is a great time to be able to perform your instrument in a much lower-stress environment than your typical college-level performing ensembles. There are two great examples of this. Brian Liporto (find him on Twitter at @bliporto) points out that playing in a community band is a great way to stay active and keep your chops in shape. Also, playing in community bands is a fantastic opportunity to experience new repertoire. Another summertime option is playing for musicals. Many local theater guilds and companies perform musicals in the summer, and Music Education students make great additions to the pit orchestra for these shows. The theater company gets a solid player who has been actively playing for a while, and you get the chance to keep your chops up, learn a bit about what it’s like conducting for musicals (if that is something you are interested in), and just have fun!
7. Improve a Specific Skill Through Practice
If you, like many Music Education majors, don’t have as much time to practice during the school year as you wish you did, summer can be a great time to focus on your performance skills. Specifically, summer is a perfect opportunity to choose a specific skill to improve upon. For example, if you are a clarinet player, you may want to focus your summer practice on improving finger speed. As a trumpet player, I am trying to focus my efforts in the practice room this summer on a weak aspect of my playing: endurance. Whatever you choose to focus on, don’t short-change the rest of the aspects of your instrument! Without maintenance, you may come back and have the best range in the studio, but if your tone quality and lip flexibility have been neglected, you will not have done yourself a favor in the end.
8. Learn and Collaborate Online
With the advent of Web 2.0, there is a wealth of information available on the internet related to the field of Music Education. While tip #3 in this series referred to networking using Social Media, the internet also provides an opportunity for learning and collaboration through blogging. If you have ideas to share, start your own blog! If you’re more interested in reading other people’s ideas, check out Dr. J. Pisano’s list of 100 Music Education Bloggers for some great reading material. If you’re in the middle, consider trying to contribute to an already existing blog as a guest poster (shameless plug-MusicEdMajor.net is looking for contributors!). However you spin it, blogs are a great way to learn more and focus your ideas and thoughts regarding specific topics.
9. Get a Job in the Field
What better way to stay active in music over the summer than to make it your job? Summer jobs are a part of life for most college students, but instead of flipping burgers or selling shirts, why not sort music or teach camp sessions? There are usually plenty of jobs to do around your School of Music, and while it might not be extremely exciting (I’m filing music for the instrumental music librarian all summer), there may also be opportunities to teach at camps available. As Matt pointed out in the comments to the original post, working at a summer music camp can be a great way to get experience in a diverse set of tasks, from administration to individual, small, and large group instruction. You may even have a chance to work on becoming proficient at a secondary instrument! Whatever you end up doing, it can benefit you in multiple ways: not only are you getting experience in music, but chances are you’re getting paid too!
Do you have other ideas for staying active over the summer? What do you do to keep your chops and mind in shape? Join our conversation by leaving a comment below! Also, if you haven’t already, check out the first part of this post, 5 Low-Stress Ways to Stay Musically Active Over the Summer!