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A question so simple that could be answered with “just look for it” may be a bit more complicated. While there is too much music out there, probably only half of it or even less is easily available to everyone, due to all the complicated business, marketing and recording side of things.

Today, music distribution has changed quite a bit from the traditional radio and TV experience. Nowadays the main way to go about it is through the internet, but the difference is that we choose what we want to listen to, or do we?

Algorithm

Youtube, Spotify, Deezer and other music platforms provide some sort of algorithm that allows for recommendations to be made based on the history of music played.

Writer and Musician Sasha Frere-Jones says:

Discovering music does not frustrate me or cause me to have takes. (I don’t listen to Pandora, which might make that happen.) I like it when SoundCloud drops into autoplay mode and delivers a sequence of songs tagged as related. I like it when YouTube does the same thing. I’m happy to learn what Spotify Discover thinks I want to hear. I learn names; I hear songs.

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While there is still control about what is being played and what is being ignored, it’s hard not to pay attention to so many recommendations, in a way the hook is curiosity, the same as it always has been. When you used to tune in to MTV and began watching a video, you could just change the channel, but you stayed to see what happened, this “control” aspect makes things even easier, since you can skip the songs you don’t like and have everything at your disposal.

Best Of… Lists

Another way to discover new music from any time period is just to search for tops, either genre based, time based or any other category. The internet is filled with these, and while music is not something you can easily it’s good or bad, it may be a good starting point to begin a music research.

It’s all about doing a little research, depending on what you would like to listen to, either good guitars, drummers, good jazz, or electronic, there are top 10s about pretty much everything. One tab with a list, another with YouTube, and you might just find some interesting music.

Soundcloud/ Bandcamp

If you are really craving for something new outside from all the mainstream famous artists, it may be a .good idea to spend some time in Soundcloud and Bandcamp, since it’s now the starting point of new artists.

Bear in mind, many of the artist may not have the best production there, since they are free and easy to use, they’ve gained popularity as a safe haven for independent artists wanting to share their music even if their production quality is nothing beyond a home studio.

Nevertheless, there are some amazing projects floating around those platforms so it may feel as a breath of fresh air.

Old School

Maybe you don’t spend too much time on the computer or cellphone, well, there is a world outside the internet, and it is still very much alive. There is nothing like the magic of going to a bar or a club and seeing a new artist perform live, sometimes to fall in love, others just to enjoy the moment without getting too attached to the music.

The radio still has some interesting ways to show some new music to people, but sometimes, you can’t seem to remember the artist, the song or they just don’t say it. In this case there are very useful alternatives like “Shazam” which is an app that can recognize a song through the phones mic.

Or maybe just the oldest way of them all, just talk to other people.

Teenager Vicky Sko was asked about how she discovered new music, and aside from apps she said:

I’m fortunate to have lots of classes with friends so we listen a lot during class by sharing our headphones with one another. We also love to listen to music at lunch and have gone to a couple concerts together. Spotify also has a great feature that allows you to stalk what your friends are listening to, and I use this to my advantage a lot.

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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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