Ah, December. People cosy and warm in big winter coats, twinkling lights making the early sunset more bearable and, of course, Christmas music. Christmas music everywhere. In the streets, in the shops, on the radio, at any concert you go to…
As a musician, I’ve usually had my fill of Christmas music by December 1st. It feels like I’ve already rehearsed the songs a hundred times that year. So this year I decided to keep track. Just how many times did I sing or play each Christmas song? And how many different arrangements/parts of the same song did I sing?
I did this for my own amusement but then I realised it might be useful to share it for this reason: The performance of popular music is often taken for granted. Sometimes, people assume that you must know how to perform a piece of music because ‘everyone knows it’. I feel like this is the most true of Christmas music. Everybody plays these songs every year, so we must all know them by now, right?
I actually find the Christmas period the most difficult performance season. I have so many arrangements of these pieces floating around my head that I have to concentrate not to sing the notes or words from a different arrangement. Also, remember that performance is not my main focus as a musician. For musicians who get their main income from performance, these numbers would probably be much higher.
Okay guys, have a wonderful holiday. I hope you are all safe and warm. And next time you pass buskers playing Jingle Bells, remember the work that’s gone into the music.
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