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The summer months can be a magical time for students looking to have a little fun or pick back up an old hobby. Whether you’re in middle school, high school, or even college, there are plenty of possibilities when you have the opportunity to step away from school for 2+ months. Young musicians would be wise to use this time to enhance their playing abilities and try new things. For many, that means attending music camps or other similar events. Here are a few of our recommendations for young musicians looking to get a leg up during the summer season.
Summer Music Camps
One of the best summer choices a young musician can make is searching for music camps he may want to attend. Like any other camp, there are hundreds to choose from. Each of these institutions come with their own method of teaching, entertaining, and raising up the next generation of musicians. You can start in your area by finding a college, church, or community center where such events may be offered. If you’re looking for the most highly appraised camps, however, you’re probably going to want to dig deeper. Boston, Nashville, Michigan, and California are some of the best places to find quality music camps.
Why are these summer camps such a good idea? They’ll help you learn from talented (and different) instructors, allow you to partner up with different players, and have a little fun away from your usual experience. Just look for something which caters to the kind of music you’d like to play, accommodates a variety of skill levels, and offers great teaching.
Make Your Own Practice Schedule
Want to improve your playing during the summer? You’re going to have to adopt a sense of discipline. Just like the world of sports, music is something which gets better through practice. You can have all of the talent in the world and fail to meet your potential, simply because you want to be lazy. The summer season is meant to be a break from school, but its purpose definitely doesn’t extend to all parts of life. Take advantage of the time you have and build your own practice schedule. Make it as extreme or forgiving as you want it to be. From casual guitar players to expert violinists, everybody needs to be comfortable with a practice routine.
Get a Summer Job
If your summer isn’t filled with music camps and extended vacations, we suggest you think about getting a summer job. We know the prospect of lying on your back all summer sounds promising, but the truth is that there are only so many shows on Netflix. Why not use your abundance of time during the summer to make some extra money for yourself? Aside from the joy a full bank account provides, having a job means you will be able to afford the equipment you’ve been eyeing. Everything from new strings to an amp can be yours now that you’re receiving a weekly paycheck. You may like the idea so much you decide to stay on when school starts back up.
Get Started Songwriting
These special months without schoolwork are not just for rest, but exploration. If you’ve been wanting to spend time writing songs, now is the best time you’ll ever have to get started. Even if you’ve never been serious about writing your own music, this can be a great exercise to get your mind going with a little creativity. No matter what instrument(s) you play or how long you’ve played, brainstorming a few ideas can be a lot of fun. Work on some songs over the summer and surprise your friends when school gets back in session.
Jam with Your Friends
Music camps aren’t the only place you can go to play with fellow musicians. Chances are you already know a few people in your area with whom you can jam. One of the best parts of doing this is that it helps you improve as a musician without feeling too much like work. If you and your buddy both play guitar, show each other what you’ve been learning and share songs you’ve mastered. Get together with a few people and you can start your own garage band for the summer. Even musicians who play less popular instruments can have fun by being around fellow music lovers.
Visit Your Local Music Store
Brick and mortar stores may be harder to find these days, but there’s a good chance your city has at least one Guitar Center or mom and pop establishment. Take the time during the summer (or the rest of the year) to visit the music store in your area. You can see what’s new in the local music scene, find out about contests or classes starting up, or, perhaps most importantly, check out a new instrument you might want to buy. We encourage you to be kind to the staff by putting things back where you found them and not going all out on the instruments.
Invest in Your Music Education
However you choose to do so, we think investing in your music education is the best thing to do during the summer months. For some that might mean burying yourself in YouTube videos, picking up a few magazines, or checking out books at your local library (yes, they still exist). This could also mean taking advantage of our earlier tips like going to music camps. It’s not like you have homework right now, so dive deep into the pool of musical knowledge. You won’t regret it!
See Live Music
Not everything that helps you improve is something difficult. Sometimes learning can be a lot of fun. If you’re able to, we think seeing live music performed is a great educational tool. You can learn about stage presence, sounds you want to explore with your own music, and more. Taking in a live show with friends is easy in the summer, too, because many outdoor venues provide free or inexpensive shows. These may not always be the cream of the crop as far as talent is concerned and the style of music may not be your taste either. What’s important is that you are learning what to do (or not do) on a public stage. Plus, it’s usually a lot of fun. You may already be aware of such shows in your area, but do a little research regardless.
From music camps to writing your own songs, there are many ways for young musicians to invest in their playing abilities during the summer. Find what works for you and stick to it. Don’t forget to have some fun during the summer as well. There are 24 hours in the day for you to fit in sleeping, playing, and so much more. Use them wisely.
Speaking of music camps, we’ve got the perfect place for young Christian musicians to learn from their favorite artists and have a lot of fun. Camp Electric is the biggest and best music camp for kids who want to learn from established musicians who teach from a Christian perspective. Click on the link below to find out how you can become our next student.