V.com weekend vote: How does your violin/music practice and routine change during the summer?

June 19, 2021, 10:47 PM · Summer officially arrives this week, and as a violin teacher I'm seeing major changes in everyone's schedules and routines. The question on my mind is: will violin practice, performance and playing be a big part of this summer's activities? More so than during the school year? Less so?

summer violin by window

Of course, this summer comes on the heels of a global pandemic that has been affecting people in various ways, depending on geography. Some areas feel like they are emerging from it; others are worse than ever. For me, when it comes to performing, things are just only beginning to open up, and I anticipate that it will be a while before the playing gigs begin for me.

As for teaching and student activity, last summer, while things were very shut down in my area, my teaching schedule went full-tilt. Since no one was going anywhere, the students simply kept doing their Zoom lessons during the summer, the same way they did during the school year. This year, however, everything in my area is opening up and many people are prioritizing trips to see family and friends that they have not seen in more than a year. Or they are traveling simply because they can once again do so. So as a teacher, my routine for this summer will be a bit less intense in a lot of ways, but I'm still teaching (more and more often in-person, yay!) and I'm still doing things such as attending the online Juilliard Symposium on Violin Studies next week!

Summer can also be a time for taking a deeper dive into the violin, viola, cello or whatever music you play, because there are so many programs available for students, amateurs and professionals. (Still not to late to find one, here is our list of recommendations!) Setting aside a week for something like a music camp or program can really boost one's playing -- and one's motivation!

What are your plans this summer, and will your musical activities get a little more intense, or are you taking a break? Or perhaps your level of activity will stay about the same, but you might be doing a few different things than you would during the school year or season. Please pick the answer that best fits for you, and then tell us in the comments about your summer musical plans and goals.

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June 20, 2021 at 02:33 PM · Pre-pandemic, my teacher went to Italy for the entire summer every year. Last year she stayed home but I decided to decrease lesson frequency and work on different things. That didn't really work out as I had expected so this summer I plan to carry on as usual. I'm retired so my summers aren't much different from the rest of the year.

June 25, 2021 at 06:36 PM · Summer, fall, winter, spring,... pretty much the same every day/week/month. Since I'm an over 70 introvert married to an over 70 introvert, neither of us is interested in travel, like being home,...

We thrived during the pandemic because it took away the need to come up with occasional excuses to stay home. We're getting a few local invitations to outdoor picnics but our daily routine stays the same. I used Google Meet for daily 15 minute lessons that generally worked well because of the narrow focus and regularity of daily playing.

Boring? Not for us but I suspect it would be for others. The only real change is that half my students have graduated to their next teacher. I still play/practice daily. I am being contacted about teaching new students.

There are a few outdoor concerts being scheduled so we might be going out for some of them.

June 26, 2021 at 02:24 PM · "Same intensity with different activities" best describes my situation. I'm not in school anymore and not a teacher, so my routine is pretty much the same year 'round. I love to practice and play early evenings for about 90 minutes -- typically 5:30 to 7:00 -- with a couple of small breaks. I find 90 minutes more than enough to stay in shape with technique review -- plus a little recreational playing.

The only real "different activities" for me are a change of venue. Although summer 2021 officially arrived June 21, the warm weather usually starts where I am in March and continues through late November. So I can practice and play in the garage about 8 months each year, where I have the reverb I like. No idea who my audiences are during these sessions, because I can't see them, and they can't see me; but they -- neighbors and passers-by -- tell me later on that they hang around to listen.

No summer programs planned -- and no chamber music get-togethers for a while -- mainly because of other demands on my time. For now, I'm just thankful there is enough time each day to spend time with my fiddles to stay in shape.

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