The holiday season is so frantic these days. There's shopping to do, parties to attend and host, school and church programs, family get togethers, and so much more! Add to all of that, for a musician, all the extra rehearsals and performances, and you have one overwhelming Season. It's no surprise that January is the month that a musician is most likely to come down with a cold or the flu.
I love Christmas music, don't get me wrong. What other holiday is so immersed in musical traditions, new and old? And there aren't a lot of Flag Day or Labor Day albums, are there? Yes, Christmas is a time of musical celebration. However, as musicians, we don't get to sit back and soak up all of the beautiful sights and sounds of a Christmas concert or program. We are performing; concentrating on breathing, singing or playing, standing or sitting at the correct time, preparing mentally for the next piece, watching the director, and most of all on not making any noticeable errors. With all that going on, it's easy to see how one forgets to enjoy what one is doing. It is a unique rush to perform well, especially with an overtly receptive audience. But it is over so quickly, and the satisfied relish from that last high note fades almost at the speed of sound.
Recently, I have begun to remind myself why I sing. I want to be part of something more, that leads others to the wonder and delight of the music I sing. I want to teach myself the blessings of music, to understand that this gift is much more than intonation, pitch, melody, and harmony; it is the joy that comes when these things are done well. It is in the message received when heart and intellect are poured into the effort of music. It is knowing that no one can take this gift of music from me, but I am willing to give it away every time I sing.
The big music program at my church is next week. It will be glorious, and I will sing with open ears and heart, breathing out the music of Christmas, and breathing in the wonder of it all.