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January and February, in the normal course of events, is the low point of the year for professional musicians. It is traditional after Christmas that unless you have a Panto or a West End show, that your career goes into a bit of a nose dive for a couple of months.

This is quite normal. It happens to us all and as I say, the only people at this time of year who are generally working busily away are those people in contract jobs such as orchestras, West End shows or Pantomimes, so this is a good time of year, if you are not one of those people, to actually take stock of the last twelve months and made sure that you have learnt the lessons that the year has taught you.

Also, it is a good time to plan ahead for the future and with this in mind it is a good time to actually do any minor adjustments and repairs to your kit. Now is as good a time as any to change heads, especially timp heads, because if you are not busy during January and February, it gives the drums time to settle, but now is a good time to change heads generally where they need changing, to clean the kit up generally and to do any small repairs. Bung a bit of glue into any cracks and fissures which occur in bits of woodwork - anything like that. In this day and age, when there is a real dearth of people who can do percussion instrument repairs, it behoves us all to maintain a small tool kit which we can hopefully use to repair and maintain the equipment which has cost us a considerable amount of money and under present financial constraints, will probably only cost us more in the future. So, it pays a dividend to hold a small collection of tools and allied bits and pieces like pots of glue and things like that, so that we can actually take on board our own repairs and save a few quid here and there. It doesn’t do any harm and also, as I say, since the passing of the greats such as the late Arthur Soothill, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find anyone who can actually do repair and maintenance work on percussion equipment, so the more that you can do saves you money and actually will insure that necessary maintenance work is done without the need for specialists in this field.

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