Best practice: how to maintain your technique
The days are longer and all being well the sun's out. Who wants to stay in and practice?!
Whether you're at school or not, music lessons tend to be less frequent during the summer months while many enjoy time away. This can mean that there's less motivation to practice, so let's look at ways you can make your practice more efficient to maintain your technique, if not necessarily learning new repertoire.
Scales are fundamental to music - so pick a key and do a 'work out' on it. If you start on C on a Monday you could complete all the keys by a week after the first Friday!
So pick a key - (maybe there's new keys to learn for the next grade exam - doing this will really get you ahead!) and play it very slowly focussing on maintaining an even tone and air control. Listen intently to the note you're playing and then think about the note ahead before you play it - can you hear what the note should sound like? This is great way to work on intonation.
On the same scale now try repeating each note in a rhythm. You could try two quavers and keep on adding a note, so triplets, semi-quavers etc.. If you want to make it really effective doing this over a steady metronome pulse will really help your tonguing technique and strengthen your sense of pulse and rhythm. You can break up the repetitions with a crotchet beat rest to build your stamina. And also steadily increase the metronome speed over the holidays.
Along with doing this on scales, try doing the same exercises on arpeggios.
Try these simple ideas and by the end of the summer you'll be a whizz at your scales, have a great tone and should find you can play quicker stronger!
One final thought: Better to play for a shorter time every day, than two hours in one go a few days apart!