The Omaha School of Music and Dance is a year-round school, with classes suspended only briefly during the usual national, winter, and spring holidays. OSMD’s summer session begins June 19. However, we understand that students will often expect to be gone for extended family vacations in the summer. This sometimes leaves the student without the option of practicing and accessing Lesson Mate, the application OSMD uses to send recorded lesson instructions for absent students. If you or your family is looking to take some time away this summer, please remember: in order to avoid being billed for one or more months, and to allow our teacher’s to fill their empty time-slots, please give OSMD 30-days notice. The returning lesson can be scheduled in advance by alerting our staff to the student’s return date.
A month without instruction can be a huge setback for a student, without a certain amount of preparation. Winds and brass especially, which use very fine motor skills in the face, will lose muscle strength with even a few days off. But the lack of practice for piano and string students is noticeable in the fingers and arms, and in the legs and feet of dancers.
If practicing is a possibility over breaks, putting in a few sessions per week of scales, warm-ups, or exercises will go a long way to keeping a student’s muscle memory. Knowing that the biggest impact from vacation is strength, the most proactive thing a student and parent can do is have a game plan leading up to the break. A music student should get as strong as possible, increasing the amount of practicing per week, practicing each day, starting two weeks prior to vacation.
When it’s time to come back from the beach, or grandpa’s cabin, or camping the national parks, music students should make a plan for the week leading up to their first lesson back. Starting slow, students should work in many 5 to10-minute practice sessions. A little bit of practicing every-other day, or better—each day—is the best way to return to full strength. The kind of practicing needed for remembering the finely-tuned skills, is the kind of practicing that is most challenging: long-tones (for vocalists, winds, and brass), scales, rhythm, and articulation studies. In this very important week prior to their next lessons, a student must resist initial frustration, and start each day with 5-10 minutes of these fundamentals before moving on to fun music. Dancers should be very careful if practicing on their own—form and proper technique are of the utmost importance to protect against injury.
Taking breaks and small vacations is very important, especially for the students who work the hardest. Sometimes a little distance from the instrument, or some time away from a persistent problem, gives a student an opportunity to explore methods of solutions in a unique way. Once returning to the instrument or to dance class, a problem might have solved itself! It can also give a tired artist a chance to “miss” their craft, and return to lessons invigorated.
We encourage you to take a look at your summer plans and coordinate with our teachers and staff at the Omaha School of Music and Dance. Together, we can make the transition from summer vacation to the new school year smooth and painless, ready to take on the challenges with motivation and excitement!