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Get Your Groove On: 24 Tips for a Musically-Charged Summer

24 tips for a musically-charged summer

As a full time piano teacher from September to June, I am eagerly awaiting some lazy days by the water in the coming summer months. I treasure having the downtime to recharge - it's crucial for teachers, students and parents alike. In any case, if you find yourself looking for activities on a rainy day or when the kids get “bored”, feel free to try some of the following musical adventures. Research shows that learning through play is actually really effective so they’ll be having fun, developing as a musician, and all the while staying out of your hair! :)

  1. Play alI of the songs you learned this year and make a list of the ones you want to keep in your repertoire. Who doesn't love a good list?

  2. Try transposing some of your favourite pieces up or down a key or from major to minor and vice versa.

  3. Rearrange a song by making up an intro, adding a new ending or using a new left hand pattern. Get inspired by pro arrangers like The Theorist, David Sides or Peter Bence.

  4. Learn the 30 Must Have Blues Piano Licks.

  5. Can you play Happy Birthday? If not, try to learn it! This is probably the most useful piece to know. My grandma always used to keep a copy of the sheet music in her purse just in case. Hint: Start on a G.

  6. Compose your own piece on paper or with the Notion App.

  7. Improvise on a jazzy tune with iReal Pro.

  8. How many scales/chords/arpeggios do you remember from this past year? Can you figure out a new key?

  9. Can you teach someone else in your family a song you learned?

  10. Play a duet with a friend or family member - Heart & Soul is always a good go to!

  11. Try a duet with your pet and discover if they have any musical talent like Nora.

  12. Research new music you want to learn and ask me to help you with it at our next lesson.

  13. Learn a piece on your own from later in the book.

  14. Look up chords for a pop song on Ultimate Guitar Tabs and try to play it by ear.

  15. Visit a music store in your area and buy some new fun sheet music to try!

  16. Laugh at Daniel Thrasher, a piano playing comedian - he has many videos to enjoy if you just need to blow off some steam.

  17. Go to your local library and take out some books about music to read on the deck. Check out my latest blog post for some recommendations.

  18. Make a recital program to perform for your family & friends.

  19. Attend a live music concert - there are so many options in Toronto to choose from.

  20. Create your own YouTube channel and upload a video of your best playing. If you'd rather not make a new channel, feel free to send the video to me to upload to my YouTube playlist of student performances.

  21. Check to see when your piano was last tuned - once every 6 months will help keep everything sounding great and protect the longevity of the instrument.

  22. Post a photo or video of one of the above activities to your social media accounts and be sure to tag me @lizcraigpianist so that I can love it!

  23. Download some fun and effective music learning apps that you can use while waiting at the airport or on the road to the cottage.

  24. Speaking of travelling, there are more than 1900 "Play Me, I'm Yours" Street Pianos in over 60 cities waiting to be played. They may be in disguise like this fox piano in Cobourg! Have a piece memorized and ready to go if you ever see one and then do number 22.

outdoor piano in cobourg

Foxgang Amadeus, designed and painted by Cobourg artist Katriona Dean, is #1 on Bored Panda's list of most beautiful outdoor pianos in the world (photo credit: Katriona Dean)

I hope that these ideas provide a spark of inspiration on your music making journey. I can't wait to hear you all report back in September!

For those readers who might be interested in piano lessons with me, please visit for more information and to sign up.


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