The advantages of taking summer lessons:
  • Students are not in school, and there is more time to practice on the piano.  If summer break is only 2 months long, the improvement in skills on the piano should feel like 4 months.
  • No worry about skill atrophy.

The disadvantages of taking summer vacation:
  • Skill atrophy during the summer.  Students typically fall behind by about a month from where they left off at the beginning of the summer.  Your teacher has to start from materials learned in May and slowly review them.
  • The teacher will try very hard to bring the student back to their previous level of proficiency, but the experience will be frustrating for students.  The teacher has to help the student stumble through things that they used to play with ease, having to re-teach old things without demoralizing the student.
  • Your piano progress will be 6 months behind those who stay for lessons during the summer months.  Those who stay are “+4”, those who take vacation are “-2”, so, a 6 month difference in total. While the whole studio is moving forward, you will feel like you are being left behind!
  • Piano lessons are "suddenly" not fun anymore. The piano teacher seems very aggressive but is trying to help the student recover lost ground due to lack of practice.
  • Please take summer lessons as much as you can.
  • I am not saying that you cannot take any vacation at all. In fact, I believe that vacation does help us to recharge and see things from a different perspective when we come back to the studio.
  • If summer vacation is inevitable (I work with a lot of immigrant families who bring their children home to see family every year), then be aware of the consequences and bear with it when you come back in Fall.

-->Be prepared to work harder with your teacher.  
-->Be more diligent about practicing and work harder to overcome your skill atrophy due to summer vacation.
-->If the time and money is available, consider additional lessons to compensate for those that you lost during the summer. For example, if you missed four lessons in the summer, then schedule four additional lessons, one every other week, starting from September when you come back.

  • The last thing you want to do is to come back to studio in September, and then wanted to stop piano lessons in October and find a new piano teacher every single year in November!!

-->Of course your teacher is aggressive because she can see how much your children have fallen behind.  

-->Of course your kids are not enjoying their piano lessons as much as before (who would enjoy the feeling of…oh, I used to know this, but now I cannot do it anymore?).

-->Of course you are still taking time to adjust back to the school’s schedule and everything looks crazy now!!

Lastly, bear with your teacher, listen to her suggestion and your child will recover from summer skill atrophy and break the bad cycle of changing piano teacher every year in November.

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