It’s autumn. The leaves are beginning to turn and temperatures are beginning to subside. Days are shorter and nights are cooler. All of which means that it will be winter soon. Or stated another way – the holidays are coming!
Although retailers start putting out holiday merchandise before Halloween, it’s easy to scoff. But don’t fall into a false sense of having a lot of time. Don’t let the holidays catch you not quite ready – start your preparation now! I’d suggest breaking it into four steps:
- Make a Schedule – holidays are starting earlier each year with some Christmas events scheduled before Thanksgiving! (This is especially scary if you’re Canadian and Thanksgiving is in October). Realistically, you have about a month and a half so scheduled your practice and learning to assure you get everything into your practice.
- Make a list of the tunes for gigs. Within that list, identify those tunes you played last year and those that you’ve included because you’d like to learn them.
- Make a practice plan – using your schedule and your list, plan time to polish those tunes you already know and to learn those that you don’t. Be realistic!
- Make a program of holiday and non-holiday music that you’ll be able to use and get comfortable with. This is a good idea not only because it allows you to better leverage your regular repertoire but also because your listeners will enjoy the break from holiday tunes while you’re playing and it will help the old favorites seem less hackneyed both to you and to your audience. It also helps keep your regular repertoire in your mind and hands.
By being organized you will be able to be comfortably prepared for the entire holiday season from November to January with minimal angst and stress. Now you just need to book some holiday gigs and you’ll be ready to go!