Summer is officially here! Friday, June 21st marked the start of the season, and we can’t wait to see what the summer of 2013 brings. For many students, vacations and trips might mess with your normal practice schedule – but that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. In fact, summer can be the perfect time to try something a little outside of the box.
Have you ever thought about composing your own song? If you’re on the road and don’t have your instrument, try downloading a keyboard app for your smartphone, and put your theory knowledge to work as you experiment with chords and melody lines. Or how about writing lyrics? A picturesque beach might be just the inspiration you need.
So let loose, and allow your creativity to run wild! To get you started, here are 10 exciting goals to consider adding to your summer to-do list:
1) Learn a karaoke hit.
Summertime often means campfires, picnics, and beach parties – tons of opportunities to get together with friends and have some fun. Ramp up your repertoire by learning all of the hits and crowd-pleasers, from the Beatles to Sublime. UltimateGuitar.com is a great resource for finding guitar tabs, and MusicNotes.com is one of our favorites for sheet music. (See also: Turning Pages: Where to Find Sheet Music Online)
2) Teach a friend or family member.
With all that extra downtime on vacation, why not teach a friend or family member what you’ve learned? Teaching someone else is one of the best ways to retain your own knowledge, especially in between lessons. Break out your instrument, or turn on the radio and teach a friend how to find the harmony line!
3) Write lyrics, or compose a song.
Heading on vacation? Keep a journal, and record your experiences and thoughts. You never know when inspiration will hit to turn those thoughts into poetry or lyrics! Think with a composer’s mindset – which chords and key signatures would be on your summer soundtrack? For example, a bright, F-sharp major might work perfectly if you’re enjoying a stroll on the beach. (See also: Music Theory: The “Key” Characters of Key Signatures)
4) Read one music-related book.
Hanging by the pool? Put these books on your summer reading list!
5) Put on a recital.
Heading to a family reunion? Bring together siblings, cousins, aunts, and uncles to showcase your family’s unique talents and skills! Bonus: Invite those who don’t play an instrument to take part in planning, creating the programs, or emceeing.
6) Record yourself on video playing your favorite song.
These days, there’s no need for expensive video recording equipment – most smartphones have video capabilities, and recording yourself practicing or performing gives you the opportunity to really listen to yourself. It’s also fun to look back on the videos months – or even years – later and really see your progress!
7) Research your favorite musician and get inspired.
Learning about your favorite musician is a great way to better understand the emotions behind the lyrics or composition, and can even provide extra inspiration. Who do you look up to? What genre of music do you want to learn more about? There are tons of biographies and documentaries to explore.
8) Play a song at an open mic.
We mention this idea a lot – and that’s because performing in front of others is one of the best goals out there! Learning how to deal with nerves and stage fright is an invaluable skill.
9) Revamp your practice space.
Establishing a dedicated, organized practice space in your home can do wonders for your productivity. Instead of stressing over where you’ve left your sheet music or tuner, keep everything in one spot. Spend some time organizing your sheet music, buy a fresh new practice journal, or set up a new guitar stand or wall hanger. Got a really cool space? We want to see it! Take a photo and send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or tag it on Instagram with #TLteacher.
10) Go to a musical event that you wouldn’t normally attend.
Most major cities offer outdoor concerts or festivals of all kinds. Check local event guides and pick one that you wouldn’t normally think of attending; for example, if you love rock, check out a reggae festival. Keep your mind open!
Of course, don’t limit yourself to these suggestions. Use the extra daylight and downtime to your advantage, and have some fun. And after you’ve checked off your goal? Let us know! Send us a video or picture of you completing it, and you might get chosen to be the Student of the Week! Click here for the full guidelines. We can’t wait to see your progress and success.
– Suzy S., TakeLessons staff member and blogger