Friday, January 1, 2010

Holidays and Musicians

I pried my fingers loose from the keyboard somewhere around 12:15 am, Christmas Day. My digits are not throbbing - my brain, however, is. The holiday season is great for musician's bank accounts: churches offer services practically 24 hrs a day, holiday parties need background noise and choral concerts all use pianists in their celebration of the season. The holiday season is not so great for musicians on a personal level, however, in the sense of actually enjoying the season. In regards to the actual repertoire, there are only so many times one can play Silent Night, Joy to the World and the Hallelujah Chorus without wanting to torch the music. Even listening to Christmas music becomes a chore when it is usually done out of necessity to learn certain arrangments, sometimes resulting in a strong aversion to hearing ANY Christmas music. Parties are attended so often as a working musician that attending an actual holiday party for pleasure becomes a foreign concept*. On the academic side of things, it is jury time (singers and instrumentalists use pianists to accompany these tests) as well as a popular recital month. Then there are the students recording CDs for colleges and festivals, as well as other odds and ends of non-stop fun and excitement. This is why many musicians celebrate 'the holidays' in January. By sleeping.

*I actually managed to attend a party this year - and upon entry, immediately recognized the song played by the pianist as Webber's 'Music of the Night'. I had a good sympathy chuckle, as Phantom (or Cats, or Evita, etc) is crowd-pleasing, easy to play, and fills time. A.L. Webber should be named the patron saint of cocktail music filler.

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