10 Summer Projects for Musicians

In academia, whether you’re a student, staff, or faculty member, many of us yearn for the summer. It always seems so far away and we’re so excited to finally have a break from writing or grading papers, rigorously practicing for scale exams, juries, and other final performances, and working on other school-related assignments. Then summer hits and we are…. well… bored.

As a musician, our lifestyle drastically changes in the summer. We are used to crazy schedules, packed with long to-do lists, practicing, rehearsals, and concerts every night. When the long sought-after summer finally arrives, we’re excited to take a break and rest, and then all of a sudden we often find ourselves with nothing to do and a whole lot of time. Does this sound like you? It is most certainly the case for me!

After running so hard for such a long time without a break, it’s really hard for me to step into rest and rejuvenation, even though I know this season will be short. Having a list of projects to work on over the summer helps me from going crazy, so I thought I’d share a list of some project ideas for you to also work on this summer!

1) Update your professional documents

When was the last time you updated your C.V. and resume? What about your repertoire list, biography, or cover letter? Or maybe you’ve never created these documents – summer is the perfect time to take a stab at them!

2) Create a website (or refresh your current website)

In our digital world, it is imperative to have an online presence that allows you to showcase your artistry and share your work, promote upcoming events, connect with an audience, and make it easier for people to reach you. There are many platforms that allow you to create websites at a low cost, or in some instances, for free. However it does take some time, so use the summer to get started!

3) Revisit the fundamentals

I have a friend who kept saying “I can’t wait for summer so I can start practicing my scales again.” Sometimes, you have so much rep to work on in the semester and scales are the first thing to throw out of your practice time. Spend some time this summer digging back into the fundamentals – crack open the technique book that has been collecting dust on the shelf, or learn and add a few new scales to your routine (hello octatonic, heptatonic, modes, and blues scales!)

4) Learn new repertoire

Do you have any etudes, excerpts, or other pieces you’ve been dying to play, but have never had the time to learn them? Summer is the perfect time to take a stab at these!

P.S. If you’d like to learn some new pieces but don’t know where to start, check out my blog on where to find flute repertoire!

5) Organize your music (or the files on your computer)

I don’t know about you, but by the end of a school year after numerous projects, assignments, and downloads, I often have a stack of music to put away and files to organize. Spend some time this summer cleaning up and taking inventory of what you have!

P.S. If you need more tips on organization, head to this blog.

6) Learn more about ______ (fill in the blank)

What have you always been curious about? Are there any books or articles your teacher or peers have recommended you read that you never had the time to? Summer is a great time to dive into those! 

P.S. If you need somewhere to start, check out my blog on the top 5 books every flutist should read.

7) Develop studio documents

If you want to have a private teaching studio, there are some documents you’ll want to have on hand to help you teach and track payments. Or, perhaps you have some private students and would love to scale your studio in the future,  better organize your lesson materials, or update your current policies. Either way, creating or updating studio documents is a great way to burn some time this summer!

P.S. I plan to write numerous blogs about running a private studio in the future, but in the meantime, I highly recommend reading “The Independent Piano Teacher’s Studio Handbook” by Beth Gigante Klingenstein – it’s packed full of insanely helpful material and is not just for pianists :).

8) Pursue a performance opportunity

With all the new repertoire you’re learning (or re-learning) in the summer, why not find somewhere to perform it? If you don’t want to do it alone, ask some friends to join you. You could even learn some chamber music to add to the program. It doesn’t have to be big – a performance in an assisted living facility or daycare can have quite an impact!

9) Brush up on your secondary instrument (or learn a secondary instrument!)

As much as I love all things flute, I also really enjoy sitting down at the piano and clunking out some music. I don’t have time to do this in the school year, so I always look forward to summer when I can practice piano again! Consider returning to your secondary instrument – or picking up a new one – this summer!

10) REST!

Rest looks different for all of us. Perhaps it’s getting together with friends (both inside and outside of music), catching up on a TV series, taking a vacation, or exploring hobbies. Whatever it looks like, I highly encourage you to take advantage of this summer to truly experience rest.

P.S. Here’s a blog on why rest is so important.

Am I missing anything from this list? Let me know in the comments! 

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Brenna Wiinanen

Brenna Wiinanen, flutist, is an active performer, teacher, and researcher whose experiences have led to numerous masterclasses, performances, and conferences around the world.

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