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Musically Speaking: The Magic of Christmas Songs

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JJ Rocks Article # 69:
From St. Croix Music Magazine, Issue # 15, December, 2007

Have you ever wondered why so many Christmas songs become timeless? Even though Christmas is a religious holiday, I donít think the songs that capture our hearts during this joyful season get so popular because many of them are performed  in church. As we all know, there are many holiday songs that come on the radio that donít have a religious foundation. Maybe itís because weíve grown up hearing them every year throughout our entire life. But wait, I hear the same top 40 songs every day on the radio and it doesnít affect me like a good Christmas song. As a matter of fact Iíve probably heard more Beatles songs in my life than Christmas songs. Many people will say the magic thatís inside of Christmas songs reflects the joy of the season and I can see their point. But there are many magical moments in a personís life that some consider even more important than Christmas and there are many songs written about these types of situations. But for some reason they are not as enduring as Christmas songs.

Thereís a section in my music teaching curriculum when a student learns the basic mathematics of a major scale. As soon as they get it under their fingers I get them to play melodies consisting of the basic steps in the scale. And since I want them to play something that they know in their head, Christmas songs are always among the first to learn. Even if itís in the middle of July I still add a Christmas song to their studies. Thatís because most students will know the melody and that way if they play a wrong note they will automatically notice it. Of course there are the usual TV theme songs and other popular melodies, but I have not yet had a student that didnít know the melody to a popular Christmas song. So there again is an example of the power and magic of Christmas. Iím not sure how it works, but I guess itís on the same level as trying to understand the universe or even life itself.

Thereís one thing that I do know, and thatís the fact that even though Christmas songs are wonderful, I was getting tired of the same subject matter always coming up in the songs every year. If it wasnít something about snow or Santa, it was a song about wanting to be home at Christmas or missing someone or even dancing around the Christmas tree. I was starting to think that the modern day pop Christmas song was digging its own hole in the snow. So one day I asked myself ďwhat could I write about for the holidays that would be very different, but not so weird that people wouldnít like it?Ē I wanted to write a Christmas song that would connect to another wonderful moment in someoneís life and still be different than everything that I was hearing on the radio during this very special season.

So one day I was Christmas shopping in a local mall and the place was packed. A festive spirit was definitely in the air! I noticed a woman who was very pregnant and browsing through the toy section. Thatís when I remembered something that I once heard about babies that were in the womb and how they could feel things that were going on around them. And if that is true this unborn child must have definitely wanted to see what all the fuss was about and why he (or she) was feeling all these great vibes from inside of mom. So I took it upon myself to speak for the child in a song. As far as I know itís the only song ever written from the words of an unborn child at Christmas. I call it ďI just want out for ChristmasĒ and Iím giving all my readers a gift demo recording of the song at the bottom of this article. And if any of you know a mom who is expecting around the holidays, please pass it along to her. Iím sure that she will connect with the lyrics.

As far as the mystery of Christmas songs, I say letís just leave it alone and enjoy the fact that it does happen. Just like anything that is magical, once you know how it works the magic will cease to exist. Merry Christmas!

JJ Rocks - The Spotlight Zone