As any private music teacher will tell you, summer lessons are an interesting maze to navigate. On one hand, your students don't have school or homework to compete with their practice time, but they also have other activities that fill their days and might get in the way of working with their instrument. And this is how it should be! During the summer, kids should have a chance to do the things they like to do but don't have time for during the school year.
So how do you keep your students coming back to the music stand without making them feel guilty for enjoying summer activities?
I've found the best approach is to embark on a longer-term summer project with several different aspects that we can explore deeply together. This can come in the form of a sonata, concerto, or etude book; all that matters is that it contains slow and fast movements. This gives your students lots of options for what they want to focus on during their practice time, and also gives them lots of material to work on should you go a few weeks in between meetings. It's easier to plan out a few weeks' worth of assignments if you have more music to draw from.
When the school year starts drawing to a close, I like to sit down and draw up a plan for what I want my students to work on during the summer months. This year, since everyone is in 8th and 9th grade, we're using Andersen Op. 41, a collection of medium-difficulty etudes that features many different key signatures, tempos, and styles. Here's the activity sheet I created for my students:
These activities aren't exclusive to Andersen etudes; rather, they're things I want to teach my students to do with every piece of music they learn. The etudes are just a convenient way to get my students into these habits.
It's really important to give some sort of long-term instructions, like those above, to students working through a longer piece or an etude book, especially if they're new to this type of study. It can be overwhelming to try to approach a larger work if you don't know where to start, and the value of etudes in particular is in discerning what they're intended to help you improve about your musicianship.
So don't sweat it (pun intended and enjoyed) if you don't see your students every week during the summer. Enjoy this chance to work through a bigger project at a slower pace with them, and don't forget to take some time for yourself, too.