Free Summer Practice Incentive to Avoid the Summer Slip & Slide

Did you ever have a student come back in September after a long summer break and he was like…a brand new student? I mean, sometimes it can feel like he lost about 6 months of progress in those couple of months off from lessons.

What can we do to stop this happening?

We can encourage parents to enrol them in summer lessons or other music programs certainly, but what if there’s just no way that’s going to happen in this case?

That’s where the summer quest comes in.

I invented this idea last year (see last year’s summer quest here) and it was a hit. Not just with my own students either. Piano teachers all over the world have taken this idea, made it their own and used it to motivate their summer piano practice in their studios.

How does this Summer Practice Incentive work?

I think what teachers love about this summer practice incentive is the simplicity. I provide a simple template, and it’s up to you how it functions in your studio.

  • Students get the colouring sheet and the list of ideas before the last lesson of term.
  • They follow the path, colouring in one square for every summer practice task they do.
  • If they complete 18 tasks they finish the summer quest.
  • You decide if you want to offer a prize, a high five or another reward when they return in September. I like stickers, smiles and high fives myself – but you do YOU.

Getting the Parents On Board

If this is going to work for our young students (much like practice in general) we need the piano parents to climb aboard this summer quest.

I don’t know many six year olds who would remember and then follow through on this all by themselves. They need help and reminders.

Here’s what I’m doing to make the summer quest a success in my studio:

  • I mentioned this in the summer newsletter to get them ready and anticipating that this was coming up soon.
  • Also in the newsletter, I emphasised the investment that they have made in lessons and progress at the piano so far – and how this was one way to protect that investment over the summer.

  • I’m encouraging the parents to put the summer quest on the fridge as soon as they get it. That way it won’t just get lost in a bag and it will serve as a wee piano practice nudge all summer.
  • I will also mention this in all my remaining emails this year along with the re-enrolment forms and final reports etc, etc.

This isn’t a “say it once and it’s done” kind of thing. The summer quest needs to really sink in to be implemented at home. After all, there’s a ton of other stuff happening during the summer.

Much as we would like to think we’re the most important – we might be trumped by holidays and plans for the next school year.

So put these things in place so that you (and the piano) don’t get forgotten this summer.

Download the Summer Quest Printable

I’d love to send your students on summer practice incentive quests too! Sign-up below to get the printable and other wonderful goodies and freebies. 🙂

Vibrant Music Teaching members, you can access this resource inside the VMT library. Not a member yet? Find out more about becoming a member here.

Do you need more piano practice ideas? Check out this post on what I’ve learned about practice in the last 12 years of teaching.

How long is the summer break in your studio?

Do you find your students come back having not touched a piano at all? Tell us your summer piano teacher woes and victories in the Vibrant Music Studio Teachers group on Facebook – or in the comments below.

10 thoughts on “Free Summer Practice Incentive to Avoid the Summer Slip & Slide”

  1. Love the paragraph about “investment” and that this is a way to “protect their investment.” That is SO true!! Thanks Nicola. Brilliant, as usual:)

  2. I am interested in the Summer Quest printables please. Sounds like something simple that isn’t overloading.

  3. I usually create a summer packet to keep my students motivated over the summer. Thanks for summer quest!!!! You have created the packet for me 🙂

  4. My husband is my studio graphic designer. So glad we found this before we spent many hours at the computer. Can you tell me the font name for the title Summer Quest? I also tweaked the activities and added these:
    1) Sight read an easier level book with the metronome
    2) Learn a song in a style you haven’t played before (medieval, movie theme, classic, new age, etc.)
    3) Play a chromatic scale up and down the entire keyboard with the correct fingers
    4) Play a song from a lead sheet with chords


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