Indian Hill Music School Director of Education Pete Robbins answers your questions about music lessons, practicing, performing, and how it all makes life better!.
Before I begin, I want to say that I am beyond excited to introduce myself to you as IHM’s new Director of Education. As a jazz saxophonist, a private and school-based music educator and program director, and a director of large community music programs, I have developed curriculum, assessment tools, and new program ideas, and have personally taught students across all age levels and in a wide variety of settings.
My wife (Karina), my two sons (Jackson, 5.5, and Silas, 3) and I are thrilled to be relocating from Brooklyn to Massachusetts. I was raised in Andover and was actually a student at Indian Hill Music School around 1992, and am very grateful for the opportunity to help chart the course of our wonderful institution into the future.
Why Study Music This Summer?
Summer is coming, and you’ve been studying, and practicing hard all year. You deserve a break, right? So…why should you consider taking lessons in the summer? Here’s something to chew on regarding non-music studies: it’s been proven that annual summer regression in math studies is equivalent to 2.6 months of grade-level work. In reading it can be as much as two months’ worth of loss as well. In my experience as a music educator, I am certain (though it merits academic study) that this applies to music lessons, too.
This means that, for roughly every five years of music study, one full year’s worth of skill may be completely lost if summers are taken “off.” Given how much individuals and families invest in music education, in terms of both the time and financial commitments, this should be alarming for everyone involved! Summer music study pays huge returns: students and their families avoid suffering the financial and musical “losses” of time off, and the gains are readily apparent in the skills and motivation that are developed (and not diminished with time away).
More great reasons to continue your music lessons over the summer include:
You get to choose a schedule that works for you. IHM allows you to take a relaxed schedule of lessons — as few as three — and book lessons around your summer plans.
You get the chance to switch it up. Summer is a great time to try something new: a new instrument, a longer lesson, a new teacher, and/or one of our fun new programs.
You have time to focus. Without the usual weekly commitments that most of us have during the regular “school” year, summer might be a time when we can really focus on our music studies for a while, to generate some extra skill and motivation heading into the fall.
Having taught private lessons and having run school-based music programs, I have seen summer music regression first-hand, and it happens, no matter the talent of the student. I’ve also seen the spark that can be lit in a music student who has a special summer music experience! So my advice to you is to protect the many investments you have made while taking lessons all year — time, effort, financial and emotional — and continue your studies during summer vacation!
Pete Robbins is the new Director of Education at Indian Hill Music School. Have a question for Pete to answer in this new column? E-mail it to firstname.lastname@example.org.