1. Students with no prior musical experience will have ample time to select their desired instrument.
If your child is considering joining the school band in August, you may think that he or she can just choose a desired instrument and learn in school. Many schools typically have "instrument fittings" at the beginning of the year; instructors for the various woodwind and brass instruments come to the schools and assist the band directors in having each student "try out" the instrument(s) of their choice. While this is a great opportunity to quickly assess a child's natural proclivity toward any particular instrument, first impressions may not be lasting. Just because a child easily produces a tone on the clarinet during an instrument fitting does not necessarily mean that he or she will love the instrument and want to spend the necessary time honing his or her skills. Therefore, I believe that introducing children to music lessons over the summer will give them the abundant exposure necessary to make a more lasting decision.
2. Beginners will be able to grasp the foundations of their instrument at their own pace.
Even in a beginning band class, students will progress at different rates. While this is to be expected, it can be quite frustrating if your child is still struggling with tone production and the rest of the class has moved onto playing the first song. Your child may grow more and more discouraged, and may even decide not to be in band any longer. An effective way to prevent such frustrations is to contact a private music instructor early in the summer. Weekly lessons throughout the summer will give your child a solid musical foundation, boost his or her confidence, and bestow the necessary skills for your child to "hit the ground running" come August.
3. Intermediate/advanced students will be able to continue making steady progress.
I have heard jokes about students returning to school in August and cleaning the dust off their instrument cases. As with any other skill, consistent practice leads to consistent improvement. If your child has been learning from a music book, select the next book in the series and make it a goal to work through that in the summer. If your child wants to perform a difficult piece at Solo & Ensemble next year but hasn't quite acquired the necessary technique, make it a goal to begin working up to it this summer. Whatever you and your child's goals are, summer music lessons will provide motivation and direction for continued success.