Much as I will miss my lessons, as a teacher myself for many years at a boarding school, I know how easy it is to 'burn out' from the intensity of teaching day in and day out. The only thing that allowed me to keep teaching for so long with love and enthusiasm, was the summer break when I could rest, refresh, and then gradually begin to long for teaching again.
I guess my summer plan goes along the lines of "Something old, something new, something longed for, something with others".
The local chamber orchestra has a summer session where they invite all comers to a July reading session. Very enticing to me, but in 5 sessions over two weeks they have scheduled a Beethoven symphony, Finlandia, and a Mozart piano concerto. Lovely music and within my capabilities for sure, but there's no way that I could do more than stumble through it in a sight reading session. Travel and other activities preclude me trying to do any practicing before then on my own (and I would have to put regular practice on hold). So I decided that attempting that session would not be helpful to my progress. I so love playing in large groups, but I like to be prepared before I do that. So I crossed that opportunity off my list, with reluctance. There's a chance that I might get together with a local quartet of cellists for a few practice sessions this summer; if that opportunity happens that will be great!
Something old? One of the things that has been key to my progress this year is working on Popper etudes; they stretch my capabilities and without question make my playing better. So far I have worked on three etudes from Opus 76; I'm going to cycle through them at the beginning of my practices this summer, as they are varied enough to challenge me to improve many techniques. I also may go back and play through the etudes in Opus 73 and 73a; I haven't played those in quite a while and they would be a good review.
Something new? My teacher and I have worked through the fingerings for all of the pieces in Bach's Third Suite. I have learned the Prelude, and have attempted a couple of the others not so successfully in years past. I want to learn the Allemande, the Courante, the Bourees, and the Gigue well enough to play them through successfully. I may memorize the Allemande and review my memorization of the Prelude. Wait, this doesn't sound too much like a relaxing summer. Oh, well….
Something longed for? I've been working on the Eccles Sonata this spring (played so amazingly by Amit Peled on his CD "Cellobrations"). I love the piece and it has so much in it that is a challenge to good technique, both intonation and bowing. I plan to practice it now with a Finale piano accompaniment (I type the piano part into Finale and transfer the midi file into my Yahama piano.) until I feel comfortable with the whole piece. The slow movements I have mostly in memory, so it wouldn't take much to get them fully there. Memorizing the two fast movements would really improve my mastery of them. Two of the movements are part of Suzuki Book 7, so doing this piece is truly in my progress plan. I'd like to work on Paradis's "Sicilienne" this summer, too; it's the last piece in in Book 7. The Bouree's from the Third Suite are also in book three. So a longed for goal would be to have much of Suzuki Book 7 in hand by the fall. Just the Popper left to do for the fall!!! I love that piece, but there's no way to attempt that one on my own!
I look at my 'cello summer plan' with a bit of a smile; I probably won't accomplish all of these things, but the summer journey should be happy, challenging and good for my playing.