Allen J. Venezio
Playing the Trumpet for Christmas
The Christmas season can be one of the busiest times for professional and amateur musicians alike. Many churches will invest money to augment their music for Christmas Eve & Christmas Day Masses & services. You may find yourself receiving a higher than normal volume of calls for small and large ensemble performances and it can, sometimes, be hard to say "no", especially if there is money in it! In addition to all of that, you still have your family and work obligations to consider as well.
It is important to remember to take care of yourself during this very busy time. Be sure you are eating right, drinking plenty of water, and getting as much sleep as you can (at least 6 hours). Your lips are muscles and like most muscles in your body, they can tire from overuse. Lack of nutrition and water can cause dehydration which can adversely affect your muscles and your ability to think clearly.
We all try to squeeze as much into each day as possible, and this time of year is already very busy. I am a middle school music teacher so I have my school obligations as well as all of my professional music engagements. Here is what my schedule is for November 30 - January 1. In that 32-day span, I have: 3 band concerts (2 for my school students and one I have to attend for my step-children), 1 band practice, 2 Christmas parades, 1 school jazz band performance, 2 professional big band gigs, 2 solo trumpet jazz gigs, 1 performance of "Taps" (Wreaths Across America ceremony), 2 private parties (1 DJ and 1 jazz quintet), 2 brass quintet gigs (plus 1 rehearsal), 1 Christmas boat parade (yes, I played the trumpet on a moving boat in a boat parade!), 2 Christmas Masses (Midnight Mass and Christmas Day) and a 4-hour New Year's Eve gig ... and that's without the one pending wedding I may play the week between Christmas and New Year's! I hear a parody of "The Twelve Days of Christmas" coming ...
Anyway, I mention all of that to tell you how difficult it can be to juggle it all and the only way to do it is to be proactive. Am I doing a good job? NOPE. But, I am trying. That has to count for something, doesn't it? Seriously, make it a priority to take care of yourself and also to warm-up properly before playing. Again, this can be easily brushed off with all of the busy-ness of the season.
I hope that you have a fruitful holiday season and that you are able to touch many lives with your trumpet and your music. It is truly a blessing from Almighty God to be able to play the trumpet and it is certainly a powerful tool that can (and should) be used for good. Take care and keep blowin' baby!