An alternative to summer practicing

Yesterday I wrote about how it is beneficial to continue to practice, even if you’re not taking lessons over the summer. Today, I’m going to give you an alternative…even though you should still practice!


The alternative is quite simple. Music camps or unique music exploration activities are definitely helpful. Let’s unpack each idea. A music camp is quite simple. It takes a concept or an instrument and focuses in on them for a period of time.


For Harmanny Music Education, 2 camps are being offered, one fully online and one in person with an online option. The online camp is for students who have finished K-3rd grade. We’ll be diving in to Camille Saint-Saens’ work “Carnival of the Animals”. There’s so much to explore in this journey, not only looking at why Saint-Saens wrote the work, but how he masterfully and creatively mimicked the animals through music. This camp is the week of June 20th and will be for 1 hour.


The second camp is a ukulele camp. This is in person, but the opportunity to join online is also available. This camp will teach you how to play the ukulele. Not only how to play it, but the history of the instrument, as well as how to care for it. This camp will be for students who have finished 1st through 5th grade, and will be for 2 hours daily the week of June 27th. For more information on both camps, click here.


Now what about this music exploration activity thing? What is that? Well, it’s actually quite simple. Whether that’s checking out YouTube videos or reading blog posts about music history, or listening critically to music, these are the things I’m talking about. One of the things I’ll be doing this summer is creating a music listening calendar for June and July for my students, and then I’ll be going through them and highlighting them on the blog daily. There are lots of different YouTube channels that are fantastic. My two personal favorites are Charles Cornell and Adam Neely. They can get a little over the head of younger musicians, but definitely are fun. George Collier notates in music different performances and other musical things which can bring about inspiration. Or, if you just look up music history for kids on YouTube, you get a number of fantastic videos!


There are so many possibilities to keep your child engaged with music over the summer, whether that is practicing, creating their own instruments (I recommend having earplugs around for that), or learning a new instrument for fun over the summer (again….earplugs), as well as learning more about music. There are so many resources online that the possibilities are endless!



What to do over the summer?

Back when I took lessons, my parents let me take the summer off of lessons. There is a delicate balance when it comes to summer. A bit more freedom and flexibility in schedule is good, but if you don’t keep up the practice over the summer, those skills can deteriorate. Taking a break can be helpful to have a bit of a breather and help you appreciate what you are doing along with bringing in a renewed set of focus. I offer summer lessons, but completely understand that families will want to take a break.


If you are taking a break for summer, here are some tips and tricks that I have learned along the way.


Keep in a (relaxed) practice routine. Don’t completely give up practicing altogether, but make time to practice as your schedule allows. 5-10 minutes per day or every other day is better than zero.


What should you practice? Review pieces you have already played. Find pieces to try to challenge yourself. Review your music theory to help keep things sharp. The more you can do things like this to keep yourself sharp, keep your skills up and even grow your abilities, the better.


Practice makes better. That’s just how things work. I think that even a few lessons here and there over the summer will help to keep your skills sharp, but that’s totally up to you. Continuing to practice will definitely make a difference!


If you are looking for those few lessons over the summer, Harmanny Music Education can help! Whether it’s 4 or 6 lessons, or a fun online camp diving into the “Carnival of the Animals” for students who have finished K-3rd grade, or an in person and online ukulele camp for students who have finished 1st-5th grade, you can find out more about it all here.

Performing, Recital, Student highlight

Recital Fun!

Last Saturday, Harmanny Music Education hosted its first ever in person recital. 23 students participated and did an absolutely amazing job! This past week at their lessons, I found a really fun way to process the recital and get their feedback. It was in the form of 5 questions, which then were put into the form of a Mad Lib. I wanted to share their answers, because I think it gives a good amount of insight into performing and learning how to perform well.


1. What are three positive words you would use to describe your performance?

Good (x 7), OK, Fine, Enjoyable, Pleasant, Interesting (x 2), Fantastic (x 4), Noisy, Fun (x 5), Exciting, Incredible (x 2), Energetic, Great (x 3), Sunny, Happy (x 2) , Joyful, Amazing (x 5), Motivated, Extremely Awesome, Very Good, Very Great, Confident, Finishing Well, Marvelous, Awesome, Cool, Awesome, Well Done, Quiet, Peaceful, Loud, Well, Terrific, Impressive


2. What is one thing you would like to improve upon in future performances?

Not be so nervous (x 2), play more challenging music, play the keys louder, play with more fluency and make sure I get notes and chords right, don’t mess up or anything, sing longer phrases, count better, play a longer song (x 2), be more prepared, bow better, not be afraid, not play the song 4 times, practice more, playing the notes where they should be and holding them out, should have played the whole song, overall consistency, play a faster song


3. What is one piece of advice you would give to students performing at their first recital?

It’s OK to be nervous, only you know that you’re making mistakes, play the whole song, don’t be nervous, practice and stick to the beat, do good dynamics, don’t be afraid, you did a great job and keep going, be very serious, be confident, be brave, if you feel nervous, take a deep breath, act like it’s your lesson, if you’re nervous say you’ve got this, try your best and not be nervous, pretend you’re just by yourself and no one’s watching, be brave and courageous, relax, be ready and know everything you’re supposed to play.


4. What is one piece you heard someone else play that you would like to play in the future?

Theme from Jurassic Park (x 2), Surface Pressure (x 5), Ode to Joy, Hurricane, Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo (x 2), Megalovania, Symphony (x 2), Formula One Theme,  Jailhouse Rock, Pirates of the Caribbean, Aria Math, Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star


5. How would you rate your recital performance on a scale of 1-10?

10, 7, 9.5, 9, 9, 9, 9, 10, 10, 8, 7, 7, 5, 10, 8, 10, 7, 10, 5


My students are rock stars! Almost all of them had never performed in a recital before. We spent a lot of time preparing for nerves, working to continue on if mistakes happened, and they did great! With 22 performers, there are a large number in attendance, so not only was it a bigger space than what they have lessons at, it was also a different instrument…and more people! But everyone got up and confidently played. Getting their feedback this week was just as much fun as Saturday, because the insights here are powerful!


For all of us as musicians, there is always room for improvement, and many of these students have only been learning since January. So they will naturally improve as they continue in their musical journey. The takeaways and encouragements to first time performers is something that can be very helpful to anyone presenting anything for the first time! Also, the confidence shown in their ratings says to me that they were well prepared and feel they did their best, which is all you can do!


I’m so proud of my students. Not only do they make each lesson fun for me to teach, they’re all ready and willing to learn and try new things. And that is how you grow! I’m looking forward to this last week of lessons for the semester. We’ll do some fun activities and still make it musical, but much more relaxed and enjoyable!

Student highlight

Student Highlight–Emily H

As we wind down our spring semester, Harmanny Music Education is taking the time to highlight students in the studio.


Today’s student is one who I know quite well, as she is my daughter! Emily and I have been working on her voice since the fall. She’s working hard to learn and better her voice, and she’s gotten more control and strength in her voice as she continues to work on it!


Emily is in 4th grade. Her favorite subject in school is math. Her favorite songs are “Dance Monkey” and “God is On the Move”. Her hobbies are singing and playing with dolls. Emily’s favorite thing about voice lessons is that “I get to do it with my dad.” What Emily enjoys most about music is “If I’m having a hard day, it makes me feel better.”


You can join Emily in strengthening and building up your voice, learning the piano, trumpet, beginning on the guitar or playing the ukulele! Or, if you’re looking for summer activities, Harmanny Music Education is offering an online as well as in person camp in June. You can find out about both here.

Student highlight

Student Highlight– Derek M.

Harmanny Music Education has so many amazing students, and as we wind down our semester, it’s time to highlight them.


Today’s student highlight is Derek M. Derek has been taking guitar lessons since January and regularly putting in practice to get first place consistently on Tonara, the app used to track practice. All of that practice has led to growth as a musician. Derek is excited about music, and it shows in everything he does.


Derek is in 3rd grade. His favorite subject in school is math. Derek’s favorite song is “Legends Never Die”. His hobbies are video games, watching TV and soccer. Derek’s favorite thing about lessons is “learning songs”. What he enjoys most about music is “every time someone is bored, they have something to listen to.”


You can join Derek in taking summer lessons on piano, voice, trumpet, beginning guitar and ukulele. You can also join in the ukulele camp the week of June 27th. You can find out more about either here.

Student highlight

Student Highlight– Olivia R.

As we wind down our Spring semester, Harmanny Music Education is overjoyed to highlight some of the awesome students in the studio.


Today’s student to be highlighted is Olivia R. She clearly loves music, is always smiling, and for our recital this past weekend, took on a huge challenge to play Surface Pressure and she did amazing!


Olivia is in 3rd grade. Her favorite subject in school is music. The reason she wanted to play “Surface Pressure” for the recital is because it is her favorite song! Her hobbies are soccer and piano. Olivia’s favorite thing about lessons are “learning how to play music I want to play”.


The interesting part for Olivia is that after playing a challenging piece full of rhythm like “Surface Pressure”, when we went back to her method book, the music we looked at was so much easier for her! We looked at what happens when you challenge yourself to get just a little out of your comfort zone. After you complete that challenge, other things seem so much easier. I’m really excited to see where Olivia continues to go in her musical journey!


You can join Olivia and other students this summer by joining the studio for summer lessons.  Also, a ukulele camp to be held the week of June 27th. More information is available here.

Student highlight

Student Highlight–Dominic B.

Harmanny Music Education has many amazing and outstanding students. As we’re winding down our semester, it is fun to highlight just a bit about each student!


Dominic is currently my youngest student, but he is all personality and enthusiasm! He is sophisticated and wise beyond his years! It is what makes teaching him so much fun, because I never know what insight or saying he’ll have at each lesson!


Dominic is in Kindergarten. His favorite class in school is music. Dominic’s favorite song is “Too Late” by Cash Cash. His hobbies are swimming, everything airplanes, history and military. Dominic’s favorite thing about lessons is “when I learn a new song”. What Dominic enjoys most about music is that “music makes me happy”.


It really has been a lot of fun to get to know Dominic and help him learn and grow as a musician. He started lessons in January and it’s been fantastic to see his progress over the last 5 months!


You can join Dominic in being made happy by music. Summer lessons are available or June and July. You can find out more here. Lessons are available in person or online!

Student highlight

Student Highlight– Elliot M

As we wind down our 2nd semester of lessons, Harmanny Music Education is taking time to highlight students and how unique and amazing they are! Today’s student is Elliot M.


Elliot M has been taking lessons with me since last June. He is such a blast to teach! He’s got a positive attitude, is excited about music, and usually has something quite philosophical to say at each lesson in regard to the song he’s playing, or something related to music! There’s never a dull moment, and it’s so much fun!


Elliot is in 3rd grade. His favorite subject in school is Science. His favorite songs are “Good Tonight” from the Bad Guys movie and “Thunder” by Imagine Dragons. Elliot’s hobbies are legos, reading, rock collecting and playing piano. His favorite thing about music lessons is that he learns something new every day (something the teacher can say as well!). The thing that Elliot enjoys most about music is that “there is music to match every mood”.


Elliot is definitely right on that. Music definitely can match our moods. And when you learn music, you can become more understanding of different moods and more empathetic. There is still spaces available for summer lessons, if you or someone you know is looking for piano, voice, trumpet, beginning guitar lessons. Or, if you’re wanting something a little more focused and intense, Harmanny Music Education is offering a ukulele camp for students who have finished 1st-5th grade. The camp will be the week of June 27th from 9:30-11:30 AM. You can find out more about both summer lessons and camp here.

Student highlight

Student Highlight- Luke P

Luke P started taking lessons with me after the recommendation of his neighbor Blake. It’s been great working with Luke and helping him learn music. He’s always ready to dive in at his weekly lesson, and even though he doesn’t say too much, I can tell by his playing that he’s excited to make music!


Luke is in 3rd grade. His favorite subject in school is math. His favorite song is the Formula 1 Theme Song (he’s playing it at the studio recital this afternoon!). His hobbies are video games, soccer, baseball and cars. His favorite thing about lessons is learning how to play songs.


This afternoon at 3 central, Harmanny Music Education will be having a studio recital. It will be livestreamed on Facebook. Check out all of the hard work the students have put in!


If you want to join the students at Harmanny Music Education this summer, find out more here.

Student highlight

Student Highlight- Samuel L.

After waiting a few years to start while watching his older brother Caleb take lessons, this year was Samuel’s first year to start with piano lessons. He definitely likes to have fun at his lessons, be silly, but when it is time to focus, Samuel does just that. He’s a joy to work with and encourage!

Samuel is in 3rd grade. His favorite subject in school is religion. His favorite song is “Green Hill Zone” (from Sonic the Hedgehog). His hobbies are piano, Cub Scouts, playing Minecraft, playing with his friends. His favorite thing about lessons is being able to perform for other people.

Samuel and a majority of my students will have that opportunity to perform at the studio recital at 3 PM. It will be live on the Harmanny Music Education Facebook page. All of the students performing have put in a lot of hard work and I’m so excited to see them shine and share their hard work and talents with others!

You can also join in with Harmanny Music Education students, whether in person or online this summer by taking lessons or participating in the ukulele camp the week of June 27th. For more information about summer offerings, click here.