Summer Enrichment with Music Education

June is the month children have waited for all year: school is out and summer vacation time is here! Children see the summer as a time for endless play and fun.

It can be a hard time for parents as they juggle their children’s schedules for a few short months with their own work schedule and vacation.

While children need their own time to rest, reflect, and play, smart parents know children also need structure, exciting new ways to “play,” and time to explore learning opportunities that may not be available at school.

In other words, summer is a perfect time for music immersion!

Here are some suggestions for parents and children who want to explore music this summer:
If your children are between the ages of 0 to 5 years old:

  • Parents: read Ability Development from Age Zero by Dr. Suzuki. 
  • Buy Suzuki Piano, violin, viola, cello, or guitar CDs Volume 1 and Volume 4. Play these CDs in the car or during dinner, and as you play with your child. 
  • Take a music class with your child. Some excellent curriculums for music and movement for the young child include: Music in the Box, Music Together, and Musikgarten. 

If your children are between the ages of 3 ½ to 7 years old:
  • Take an instrumental group class or 4-6 private music lessons this summer. There will be some parental involvement because the young child will need guidance and parental encouragement and support. Piano, violin, cello, and guitar are instruments that can begin as early as 3 ½ years.

If your children are between the ages of 8 to 18 years old:
If your child already plays an instrument: GREAT!
  • Take some longer lessons this summer or lessons more frequently (2 times per week)
  • Play with a music ensemble: band, summer reading orchestra. 
  • Try another instrument for fun: band and orchestra kids really need to learn piano basics to help them with music theory.
  • Go to music camp or workshop
  • Take some fun music classes close to home
  • Ask your private teacher or school music teacher for more specific suggestions.
If your child does not yet play an instrument:
  • Summer is a great time to start, since they will have more time to practice and explore the instrument.
  • Find a good teacher by: asking school music teacher, checking out web sites, and asking friends or family for suggestions.
  • Check out park district programs and programs offered by music studios in the area. Many offer group and private instrumental instruction.
The few weeks in the summer spent in music lessons and classes could lead to a permanent passion for music, a career, a new hobby, new friends, and even better grades in school!

Janet Kuester has been a violin and piano instructor for over 30 years and is a member of the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra. She is the director of The Music Connection of Orland Park and Frankfort, artistic director of Suburban Youth Symphony Orchestra. She is the parent of 2 children and grandmother of 2.