Returning To Music Lessons After A Break

Returning to music lessons after a break can often be challenging. It’s normal for students to have breaks during the holidays and random weeks throughout the summer. Patience is needed by teacher and student when returning to your lessons.

In Theory, There Is No Break From Being A Musician

returning to music lessons
Taking a break from lessons?

Since a musician theoretically never gets any time off, she should always be of the mental attitude of work anyway, but this goes out the window when holidays and natural breaks occur. For the teacher, the patience and attention necessary to teach are somewhat dulled by the long hours of the winter holidays, and when we come back, it always seems like everything we’ve worked on with a student has disappeared. This leads me to the same conclusion every year: Where do I start?  Is it worth it to try and rehash all of the material you and the student have gone over the past four months again in the hopes that it will miraculously come back to them? Or is it better to just move on, and try to move the student in a new direction?

Holidays Can Be A Mixed Message For Young Musicians

The winter break, and other breaks are not easy for the student either. For them, it’s quite the mixed message I imagine. On one hand, you have the school district and their teachers and even their parents encouraging them to take these massive breaks. The district has actually mandated that they stop working.  But on the other hand, when they come back, all the adults in their lives are suddenly berating them on how they didn’t work hard enough when they were on break, or how they need to get it together now that they are back, or that now it was time to really start getting down to it.

A Music Students Point Of View

See what a good teacher I am (lol), seeing it from their point of view? That’s only because after the break, I too have lost a lot of my energy. My endurance is shot. I no longer have the tremendous patience it takes to teach all day every day. It comes back all right, but those first couple of weeks, I imagine I am not as “cool” or friendly as my students are used to. It does depend on the student though. For the student who comes into the lesson and says: “Hey, how’s it goin’, so I don’t have that book that you told me to get because I went out of town over the break. Also, I lost all of my old music. And oh yeah, my finger got infected so I couldn’t play for two weeks.” I might not be as understanding as I would normally be. But for a student who was eagerly anticipating the lesson, who brought new materials for me to look at and who practiced a ton over the break, I am all too rewarding. For that student, the shock of her work ethic may completely turn my mood and energy around to where suddenly my critical ear is deaf.

It’s Hard For Teachers Too!

Teachers go through the same difficult transition from holiday break to back to school time as our students. However these first few weeks back go, I know that soon we’ll both be back in the swing of things, and teaching will be as rewarding as it always is. We have to be patient with our students; especially when all those adults told them they could relax for a while!

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