Ah, winter break, a time for doing nothing but opening presents. Oh, wait, winter break for musicians? That’s a slightly different thing.
While many students get a few weeks of nothing, music students have to keep up with their skills. Music majors also should get some rest.
However, there’s a delicate balance of resting and being lazy.
Winter Break for Musicians
As the fall semester comes to a close, you may or may not have plans for the weeks after finals and juries. Winter break for musicians can be an interesting time.
You have some extra free time, but that free time might get booked pretty quickly. From seeing family and friends to taking on extra projects outside of school, there are a lot of things that musicians can do.
So, what are some ways to spend winter break for musicians?
If you want to perform, this is the perfect time to take on some playing gigs. Many churches and events want music, especially around the winter holidays.
If you go to a church, you can ask them if they need a musician for an upcoming service. And if you don’t go to a local church, you can reach out to one or more to say you’re a professional musician in town.
While that doesn’t guarantee you’ll get a gig, it can be a good way to meet people and make connections for potential gigs in the future.
Because of the end of the semester and the approaching holidays, this time of year is a common time for people to travel. Unless all of your family lives year you, you’ll probably do some traveling in the coming weeks.
I know I’ll visit my family for a while.
Of course, traveling can be stressful. But if you plan ahead, you can take some of the stress off of yourself.
Time with family
Speaking of traveling to visit family, you may want to spend some extra time with your loved ones. Since most people are off from school or work for a couple of days or weeks, this is the perfect time to catch up.
Winter break for musicians can mean a bit of a break from the craziness of music school. However, you shouldn’t let everything go.
How to Spend Winter Break for Musicians
Regardless of your overall travel or work plans, winter break for musicians means a change in routine. For better or worse, you have some extra time on your hands.
Of course, winter break is a sort of break. But when you’re a musician, you don’t get the same break that your friends outside of music might have.
As musicians, we always have to better ourselves and prepare for our future careers. While you should do your best to avoid being a workaholic, you also shouldn’t spend your entire winter break doing nothing.
During the semester, you probably have multiple classes and ensembles. You also have private lessons and individual practice that you have to do.
For a lot of us, fitting that in can mean getting a little less sleep than we would like. While I try to prioritize my sleep, it can get hard when I have a concert, paper, and project coming up.
So once you finish your last final, don’t be afraid to take a nap. The next day, you can set your alarm for an hour later.
And cherish those extra minutes of sleep while you can. Once the spring semester starts, you won’t have as much time.
Enjoy the holidays
This time of year can be magical, with all of the holiday decorations. If you get a chance, try and enjoy some of the holidays.
Be it with friends, family, or otherwise, try to relax and have fun during the holiday. You can balance the fun with some practice and work-related activities.
Choose new music
Because of the semester break, odds are you probably need some new music to work on. Now’s the perfect time to listen to recordings of potential pieces.
You can also look for the score online, either in PDF or to order. If you don’t know where to start with finding music, ask your teacher for some tips.
They might even make recommendations based on your level of playing.
With the extra free time, it can be tempting to go crazy. But don’t forget that you should still practice to some degree.
Of course, you don’t have to spend your entire break practicing day in and day out. However, you should practice each day.
If you take too much of a break, you can lose a bit of the progress you made over the fall. The last thing you want to do is spend time rebuilding that progress.
Without the pressure of ensembles and lessons, you can even focus some of your practice on some fun stuff. Just be sure you keep up with the fundamentals.
Work on your career
Winter break for musicians is the perfect time to do some career building. Get online and look for opportunities for paying gigs, like performances or teaching.
If your university is in a town with different music stores and schools, apply to teach at one or more of them. And if you want to perform, you can see if nearby symphonies are holding auditions.
You can also look into building your own website to promote yourself. Building a social media presence is also important.
At this point, you can also look into summer activities. Do you want to go to a festival or camp? Do you want to work a summer job?
Perhaps you want to move back home for the summer. If that’s the case, start advertising yourself back home for summer gigs.
Winter break for musicians can be an amazing time. You get a break from the hectic schedule of a music major, but you can still work toward your goals as a player and a professional.
How do you plan to spend winter break? Share your plans in the comments!