I haven’t practiced all summer and my lessons resume next week…
Avoid the tendency to panic! If you have been away from your lessons and your practice for a while have faith in the process and in your teacher to put you back on track. Prepare yourself for the inevitable and rather than getting bogged down by your frustration just accept the situation and resolve to go forward from wherever you are.
Your teacher has many years of experience and has worked with many other students who are a bit rusty after a break. There is no shame involved. We would certainly rather see you and do some review with you than not ever see you again. We would rather help you to get back to where you were and beyond than to see you let all of the work you had put into your lessons before your break, simply go to waste.
If you haven’t played at all this summer and you don’t even know where to begin, don’t stress, just come back to your lessons and allow your teacher to be your guide. There is no need to do anything in particular to prepare for your return at this point, however, if you have some time and the motivation in the days or weeks before your lessons resume by all means sit down with your instrument and do some light review. Scales are an excellent place to begin. The perfect speed is very slow, focusing on tone, intonation and technique. If time allows you can work up to a tempo that is closer to what you had been playing before your break.
If you do nothing else before resuming your lessons, practicing your scales will prove very helpful. Just playing will help to reconnect you with your instrument and to act as a reminder to your muscles. If you are using a scale book when you play, you will be reviewing your note reading skills as well as helping your body and mind to recall all that is necessary to think about and to focus on as you play.
If you are motivated to do more in preparation for your return to lessons then after you feel comfortable with your scales choose something that you knew well before your break, something that you had already completed and that was easy to play. Spend some time going over that piece rather than challenging yourself with a new piece. Again, trust your teacher to move you ahead once you are back on track.
Getting back after a break can be frustrating if you let if but it can also be an opportunity to let go some of your old, less than ideal practice and playing habits. Starting with a clean slate provides a chance for you to begin anew and to take your playing further than before. No doubt you do remember many basic skills. Now you can get back into your fundamentals and reinvent yourself as a music student, taking the best of what you used to play and bringing in new inspirations and your development as a person.
We welcome you back! Please take your time and allow your playing to gradually reach a level that feels satisfactory in terms of having regained any lost skills.
*Note, remember to bring your books with you to your first lesson back even if you haven’t looked at them recently.