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For any kind of performers, there is room for mistakes, and some arts are more gentle about it than others depending on the context and the particular feeling that is being comunicated.

In music, mistakes have the potential of being quite magical, wether it is during composition or a live performance, there is something about it that moves the way music works in an unexpected fun way that a planned performance cannot replicate. Of course it also depends on the type of music. When it comes to classical music and in some cases jazz, perfection is key in order to deliver a great performance.

This magic of mistakes can happen either in a live performance or during a recording. The basic idea is that a mistake can bring more feeling to the music or even sounds that were not intended to be there in the first place.

Live Performance Mistakes

Live performances ara filler with mistakes, and sometimes what defines a great performer is not how perfect the music is being played but how the musician is able to keep going despite the adversities.

It’s also important to know the origin of the mistake, if it’s just lack of practice and expertise, it can hardly be magical, but there is one common example, which is laughter. When musicians play and there is a clear connection and chemistry, fun things are bound to happen, and this feeling is passed on to the crowd. However that’s when the mistake happens, laughter can make someone make a mistake or a singer fall out of tune, but the idea of the magic mistake is that it doesn’t really matter, it even gives a feeling of “realness” to it.

While it’s less common, sometimes improvisation can come from mistakes, all it takes is a single note outside of the plan. Of course it all depends on the energy between every band mate.

It’s also important to remember that most of these mistakes are magical thanks to the crowd, in the end a live performance is made by both the musicians and the crowd that listens, cheers and fuels all the emotions.

Recordings/Composition

Mistakes

Many legendary songs have something magical about them that was brought by a little mistake.

According to the awesome Beatles anomalies site “What Goes On,” “…it is widely written that fitting with the lyrics [“Woke up, fell out of bed…”] was only coincidental, and the alarm clock’s purpose was originally as a marker. Nothing more. A happy accident that was capitalised on, as the Beatles often did.”

sonicscoop.com

There was also:

On one of the overdubs, Ringo shifted position very slightly at the very end, causing his shoe to squeak. This happened, of course, just when the sound of a pin dropping could be heard! A cross Paul shot him a sideways glance, and from the look on his face I could tell Ringo was mortified. If you listen quite closely to the song just as the sound is fading away, you can hear it clearly, especially on the CD version, where there is no surface noise to mask it.

sonicscoop.com

During a recording and composition it’s different than the live performance in many ways, due to the time that a musician has to play around with the path given by the mistake. Sometimes you have an idea, and it gets improved by playing a note you were not supposed to but makes everything better. In this case there is time to really listen to that and turn the mistake into the sound that is supposed to be played.

The main take away from this is to let the music take the lead sometimes, and let the unexpected happen.

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It’s very well known that young children many times have big dreams, including becoming great successful musicians like their idols, and as teachers, the idea has to be always to get them closer to the dream as long as it’s alive, because sometimes, their goals change. Still that is their choice, to decide whether or not they love it as they get closer, and avoid them getting bored or hate what used to be their dream.

Eli Yamin, a Jazz composer, pianist, singer and teacher has a few words for young aspiring musicians:

Young man, you must ALWAYS play music.  The music you make brings beauty and positive spirit to the world.  And goodness knows, we need more of it.  Choosing a career in music is a separate decision.  A successful music career relies on the cultivation of many skills both musical and non musical.  To make a living or good wage as a musician, you need to develop skills in business and/or education.  These may or may not be of interest to you.  So, before putting all your eggs into the making-your-living-by-playing-music basket, spend time finding out where you are at in these other areas.

A lot has been said about parents encouraging their children, and teachers encouraging creativity but the part that really makes a boy or a girl want to make music is sometimes forgotten in search of better understanding of their abilities.

How is it possible to encourage this side of things? easy, talking about it, and asking about it.

The thing is, that it’s not very easy to find children talking about their dreams and experiences, i we were to search in google, chances are the results show tips on how to teach kids or how to interact with them but not their actual thoughts or opinions.

Of course one may argue that children’s opinions may not help as much as an expert’s opinion on the subject, or tips that let’s us organize our minds, but the truth is that sometimes there is a part of the dialogue that’s missing.

In the end music is very much a personal experience, while it can be shared it’s the relationship between the individual and the sounds

Dr Eric Rasmussen says:

There is a massive benefit from being musical that we don’t understand, but it’s individual. Music is for music’s sake. The benefit of music education for me is about being musical. It gives you have a better understanding of yourself. The horizons are higher when you are involved in music. Your understanding of art and the world, and how you can think and express yourself, are enhanced.

In many ways it shows that music can help children be more connected with themselves and develop creative skills while learning more about the world that surrounds them.

In the end, the truth is that a children’s mind doesn’t really recognize the line between imagination, dreams and the “hard” reality. This is something that it begins to lose strength as we grow older, and our dreams begin to fade into routines, jobs, and just getting life in order.

Undying Dreams

Dreams

There is a part of the way children’s minds work with these things that must stay the same, that’s why it’s so important in this case for children interested in music to have good guidance and express themselves about their goals and dreams. Casey van Wensem has an article about the line between dreams and realistic goals as a musician, she says:

While they may feel different in our minds, dreams and goals are essentially the same thing – they’re an idea of something we’d like to achieve at some point in the future. While a dream may seem like a far-off fantasy, it becomes more realistic when we connect it to the present through a series of short-, medium-, and long-term goals.

Dreams don’t die, we organize and learn to have a sense of discipline, which then makes them real. Children need to maintain their dreams, while learning how to use the tools to make them real, and for that, the best thing to start is a good little conversation.

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When everyone thinks of Christmas, there is a song that always starts in their heads, a song that has been adapted worldwide and has become part of the Christmas spirit, this is “Jingle Bells”.

It’s interesting to think that this composition has been able to stay alive for so many years, every year it comes as if it’s tradition in the whole world to sing or listen to this song, but as many stories, few people know the story of this important piece of music, and what better opportunity to learn about its origin than a few days before Christmas.

James L. Pierpont

Christmas

Pierpont, the composer, was born in 1822, and his composition was released in 1857, however it wasn’t called “Jingle Bells” it was “One Horse Open Sleigh” but it was later changed to it’s current name due to it being a bit more family friendly.

Pierpont was a man of the Confederacy, at the time the civil war was very much alive in America. While his father and brother were fiercely against slavery, Pierpont became a supporter of the Confederacy.

When his brother was forced to close his church and return to the North in 1859 due to his abolitionist preaching, Pierpont remained in Savannah. When war broke out, he enlisted with the 1st Georgia Cavalry and served as a company clerk. His father, meanwhile, served on the Union side as chaplain of the 22nd Massachusetts Infantry. During the Civil War, Pierpont wrote Confederate anthems including “Strike for the South,” “We Conquer, or Die!” and “Our Battle Flag!” The songwriter remained in Georgia after the war and lived out his final years in Florida before his death in 1893

History.com

This song was also not supposed to be a Christmas song, in fact, the lyrics never mention the word “Christmas”. It was originally intended as a song for Thanksgiving but it made it’s way into Christmas when it was included in the first Christmas record in 1889.

Lyrics (A Christmas Song?)

[Verse 1]
Dashing through the snow
In a one-horse open sleigh
O’er the fields we go
Laughing all the way
Bells on bobtails ring
Making spirits bright
What fun it is to ride and sing
A sleighing song tonight

[Chorus]
Jingle bells, jingle bells
Jingle all the way
Oh, what fun it is to ride
In a one-horse open sleigh, hey
Jingle bells, jingle bells
Jingle all the way
Oh, what fun it is to ride
In a one-horse open sleigh

[Verse 2]
A day or two ago
I thought I’d take a ride
And soon, Miss Fanny Bright
Was seated by my side
The horse was lean and lank
Misfortune seemed his lot
He got into a drifted bank
And then we got upsot

[Chorus]
Jingle bells, jingle bells
Jingle all the way
Oh, what fun it is to ride
In a one-horse open sleigh, hey
Jingle bells, jingle bells
Jingle all the way
Oh, what fun it is to ride
In a one-horse open sleigh

[Verse 3]
A day or two ago
The story I must tell
I went out on the snow
And on my back I fell
A gent was riding by
In a one-horse open sleigh
He laughed as there I sprawling lie
But quickly drove away

[Chorus]
Jingle bells, jingle bells
Jingle all the way
Oh, what fun it is to ride
In a one-horse open sleigh, hey
Jingle bells, jingle bells
Jingle all the way
Oh, what fun it is to ride
In a one-horse open sleigh

[Verse 4]
Now the ground is white
Go it while you’re young
Take the girls tonight
And sing this sleighing song
Just get a bobtailed bay
Two forty as his speed
Hitch him to an open sleigh
And crack, you’ll take the lead

[Chorus]
Jingle bells, jingle bells
Jingle all the way
Oh, what fun it is to ride
In a one-horse open sleigh, hey
Jingle bells, jingle bells
Jingle all the way
Oh, what fun it is to ride
In a one-horse open sleigh

Jingle Bells Throughout The Years

While Piermont dedicated most of his life to the church and his family, his efforts as a musician have brought joy to people around the world during Christmas holidays, even though its melody changed a little bit from the original, and many versions have been made by many artists, the core of the song is still the same.

Original

Modern (Sinatra)

Bobby Helms

Many more versions exists out there, and even though the original intention was not to invoke the Christmas spirit, today, no song is more popular for this time of year than “Jingle Bells”.

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