Summer is finally here! I’d be willing to bet the kiddos are now filled with extra energy, excited and ready for a fun two months in the sunshine!
At the same time I know a lot of families are ready for a break from the insane school schedule, particularly with graduation and final everything that tends to make June particularly busy! I know I’m ready for a reduction in the hustle to enjoy the gorgeous weather, but I’m just as excited to get to know a whole new group of kids in my summer camps and classes!
That which we never seem to have enough of (especially through the school year) is TIME! The amount of families I talk to through the year who are run ragged from getting to every rehearsal, lesson and practice or game is crazy! Add in homework, school and family events and multiply that by the number of children you have- it’s sheer insanity! Which is why I know that extra time off to recover feels GREAT. And hear me when I say- You NEED it. Take that time to sleep, enjoy casual meals without having to dart out the door, visit with friends and family you never get to see.
As incredible as that might sound right now, who’s going to be singing a different tune in a few weeks when they kids are rested, have too much energy to stay home and you’re running out of ideas for things to keep them busy and off their screens?
So why not take this opportunity, after you’ve had a chance to rest, to encourage an interest your child demonstrated throughout the year, but they didn’t have time to explore?
If you didn’t have time for singing lessons or classes this winter- I’ll bet you do now! And it’s such a better way for kids and teens to put in their summer. They have the time to consider what they are introduced to, enjoy it, follow their curiosity with questions, experiences and build the skills that go with it!
When kids are in school they are told what they’ll be learning, whether they’re interested in it or not. It’s an expectation. But with summertime comes the freedom for them to choose! That was the reason I was so excited to go to college- because I would finally be able to sing and dance all day long rather than write essays and do algebra. You too?
Well there’s no need to make them wait until university to follow a passion! Use the break from classes, practices, homework and routine to give them the space to open up their hearts to a new interest. Without the school year responsibilities and early bedtimes, they are able to enjoy the process of growing, learning and enriching their lives with something that makes them truly happy. THAT’S when learning is fun!
Wouldn’t it be so much better to hear your child singing in the backyard to their favourite songs, or organizing a concert for you and the family to show off the songs they learned at camp rather than having them glued to a tablet or television for two months?
Sometimes all they need is the right circumstance and inspiration to fall in love with something! Or maybe they’re dying to get involved in a certain activity and FINALLY they have the time in their schedule to give it a try! Get them signed up!
Maybe your child is feeling uninspired. They’ve outgrown the activities they did when they were younger, they need a break from the activities that keep them busy through the year or maybe they just haven’t found their “thing” yet. Summer is the PERFECT time to try something new! Why not, when the schedule is otherwise free (or at least freer) and schoolwork won’t be eating up hours of time every night? The options are endless! Kids can even try something different each week through the summer, and what’s great is that there's no long term commitment! Try a week. If they don’t like it- no big deal! Now they know and you’re not stuck in a program that’s going to be a pain to get them to for 12 weeks.
But you know what….they might LOVE it! Maybe one summer camp or special experience is exactly what they need to start a fire within them and inspire them to pursue a new passion through the summer and beyond! There are tons of music and singing opportunities throughout the school year and most groups will be welcoming new students in September, so why not try it now? You child could go to camp, fall in love with a new passion and find that special something to enhance their creativity, inspiration, confidence and joy throughout next year. Putting yourself out of your comfort zone is also an important skill to foster in a child. Summer camp is a great way to get started on that!
What they discover at camp might be that thing that will enrich their lives year round for many years to come. I know that was the case for me growing up, and also for some of my current students. It just took a week at camp for them to realize: yup. Singing is my calling. These are my people. And the confidence and personal growth I see from kids who realize that is incredible!
Or perhaps you’re even in a situation where this past school year couldn’t have ended soon enough. Was it tough? Stressful socially on your child? Has their spark dimmed a little? Well, it’s time to get that back!
Music especially has a magic that reignites that spark. It can transform a kid who feels forgotten or frustrated and give them the voice they need to communicate their feelings and to feel appreciated and important. Yes, that happens at camp. A summer camp experience might be just the thing your child needs to get back on their feet, with a song in their heart and a smile on their face. Hit the reset button and head back to school with a fresh start, and maybe a new favourite after school activity!
Find Your Squad
One of the things I always loved best about the summer activities I did as a kid was the people I got to do it with. We all went to different schools, and in some cases weren’t in the same age group either. I loved it because it was a way to expand my social circle and make new friends!
We all know that making new friends is fun and is beneficial regardless of how your year went, but for some kids it’s really important too. If this year was tough, if your child needs a break from their regular social circle or a supportive, encouraging environment in which they can flourish- music camp could be just the thing for them! It unites kids with similar interests and allows them to connect with new faces and personalities that are likely similar to theirs in some way, by virtue of the fact that they are drawn to the same thing. It gets them out of their normal clique or group of peers that may or may not be a healthy environment for them, and lets them have a fresh start with some new people.
It’s also great if your child is starting at a new school next year. Look into some programs that draws other students they’ll see at the new school. Whether they’re moving to a new area or just moving up to middle or high school, a camp might be the perfect way to make that transition in September that much easier, knowing a few familiar faces. It can also help them find activities to keep them happy and welcomed in the new school, since the summer friends might lead them to a similar activity or teacher that can make their school year that much better.
Plus, who doesn’t love spending time with siblings, cousins or neighbours you don’t get to go to school with? Since camps often welcome kids from a wider age group, and where you live isn’t important, kids can participate in a fun summer activity with their best friends or relatives that they just wouldn’t be able to do during the school year. Make the best of family time and give kids an opportunity to bond together, make new, fun memories and find an activity they get to share!
Invite those cousins from out of town or your family friend from the West Side and get to camp!
Skill Building Central
As I mentioned before, one of the best parts about pursuing a passion in the summer is the time kids have to be able to build their skills. They can sing songs they love, not feel rushed as they practice...and maybe even WANT to practice! They can let their inspiration lead them to researching new singers they admire, finding new songs they want to try, or maybe feel confident enough to take on a new performance opportunity or competition they wouldn’t have time for while in school. The distractions of homework and other commitments are diminished, so why not spend that time building a new skill so they can reach higher next year?!
Plus, speaking as a singing teacher (and I know most private music teachers will agree with me on this), taking a two month break over the summer is never good! It just means we spend September getting back into shape and reviewing things that have already been covered instead of moving forward and making progress right out of the gate. Some choose to take lessons through at least a part of the summer, which I think is AWESOME, but if that’s not in the cards, a summer camp is the perfect way to keep the skills up, learn a different approach, or advance the skills you work on throughout the year in a different style or environment.
Beyond the literal skills camps are designed to work on, the joyful, welcoming environment that comes with camp is a great way for kids to build their confidence too. They can pursue something they’re good at or get joy from, and it all grows from there! This is the way to get that sparkle in their eyes and make them feel good about their skills, talent and contribution. At music camp, everybody matters!
Camps are also a great way to work on social skills, independence, leadership, teamwork, and depending on the nature of the camp and the age of the camper- it can also help with language and motor skills too! Who wouldn’t want to use the free summer time to grow those life skills that will enhance all aspects of a child’s life today and well into the future!
Easy on the Calendar and Bank Account
I’ve had so many conversations with parents of prospective students this year who are honest in saying that private lessons is just too expensive for them, when you combine it with dance, hockey, soccer, gymnastics, etc. etc. etc. It adds up fast! And I totally get it!
But if music or singing is something your child’s been interested in, giving it a try in a summer camp or class is way more cost effective, and it fits much more easily into a schedule than weekly classes in an already jam-packed calendar! It gives them the chance to try it out without a long term schedule or financial commitment from Mom and Dad.
If it is a week of camp and nothing more, great! It was an awesome experience that taught them a new skill or a little about themselves and now back to regular programming. No big deal! But likely, the memories your child makes at summer camp, whether a week or six weeks, are going to be the highlight of the summer for them.
If it couldn’t work through the school year, but it can now- jump on it! Make it happen. Trust me, your child will thank you!
There are far more positives to negatives to enrolling your child in a day camp, and at the end of the day, when kids look back on their summer they’re not going to think as fondly on the days spent with a video game in their hand as they will on the memories they make pursuing a passion with friends at camp. Right now the appeal of lazy, sunny days might be appealing, but making use of the free time in the summer is the very best thing you can do for your child!
Allow them to meet like-minded friends
Encourage them to take on new opportunities
Let them take risks
Foster personal growth
Let them follow a passion
Is there anything better than a summer filled with joy, laughter, sunshine, music and song? I sure don’t think so!
So, until next time, keep Finding Your Voice and Let it Sing!