April is National Jazz Appreciation Month

I like jazz. I never played jazz when I was in high school band, but Y-Chromo did, from the time he was in sixth grade until the day he graduated from high school. He started middle school jazz ensemble when he was still in elementary school. Early rehearsals two mornings a week, plus one evening rehearsal. Every week. He also made the All-County Jazz Vocal ensemble.

When he was still in elementary school, I was listening to Van Morrison’s “Moondance,” and Y said: “This is jazz, isn’t it.”

One of my favorite memories is of his high school graduation day. The school’s jazz ensemble was on the stage playing for the audience before the ceremonies commenced. The musicians wore their caps and gowns, although the gowns weren’t closed in front. My son was wailing on his sax, while the double bass player was completely into what he was doing. The tassels on their caps swayed in time with the music.

Here’s a great fact about jazz: jazz triggers theta waves in the brain, which induce states of artistic and spiritual insight. This can assist in dealing with complex issue.

If you’ve never listened to jazz, this alone ought to make you try it. You might appreciate it.

 

 

Music in Our Schools

A co-worker, speaking of her daughter, once said: “It’s only band.” As in, “it’s not as important as <<insert name of sport. Any sport>>.”

I was livid. It’s that kind of attitude that’s behind funding cuts for arts in the public schools–funding cuts that that aren’t as deep when it comes to athletics.  All students need outlets. Not every outlet is physical. Painting and composing are as important as knocking down another player.

Research indicates that music education:

  • increases  IQ
  • improves spatial-temporal skills
  • improves test scores
  • helps develop language skills and reasoning
  • increases hand-to-eye coordination and other motor skills
  • pattern recognition

Band and chorus are as much a team activity as football or basketball…except no one ever suffered brain damage from playing a tuba or singing soprano.

Why shouldn’t the arts be funded as generously as athletics?

 

Radio Day

Today is the day the world celebrates the invention of the radio.

I am from the generation that saw the introduction of transistor radios. They were the greatest thing! We could listen to music on the school bus. You had to be next the the window to get a signal (and NOT the Emergency Exit window), but we had portable music!

Yes, I was late getting my transistor radio. This is from the early 1970s.  Forty years later, when I put a in a 9 volt battery and turn it on, I get static, so I know it still functions.

The thing that amazes me is that portable music went from this to

 

Happy First Day of Summer!

Summer is my favorite season. I like being warm.

I also like songs about summer.

Here are some of my favorite summer songs, in no particular order:

  • “Summer in the City” (Lovin’ Spoonful)
  • “Boys of Summer” (Don Henley)
  • “Summertime” (Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong)
  • “Summertime Blues” (Eddie Cochran)
  • “In the Summertime” (Mungo Jerry)
  • “Under the Boardwalk” (The Drifters)
  • “Popsicle Man” (Jan & Dean)
  • “See You in September” (The Happenings)
  • “School’s Out” (Alice Cooper)
  • “California Gurls” (Katy Perry)

What are some of your favorite summer songs?