I recently came across an intriguing article in the December 31, 2016 issue of the New York Times titled “How to Become a ‘Superager’.” Author Lisa Barrett contends as we age, some of us experience increased forgetfulness and dwindling attention spans, while others maintain mental acuity into our 80s and beyond on par with healthy 25-year-olds. She reports that through the use of MRI scans, researchers, seeking to understand this phenomenon among people of similar ages, identified physical differences in particular regions of the brain. They found that in the healthiest individuals’ brains, these regions are thicker. Based on their findings, they maintain that the way to strengthen these areas is through regular strenuous mental and physical activity.
Practicing a musical instrument is a perfect example of a task that requires this level of diligence! For players dedicated to the study and practice of jazz, I’m sure we can all agree that it can be mentally and physically strenuous at times. This music isn’t easy and there are times when hard practicing is frustrating. However, the payoff is immense as we develop the ability to play with heightened skill and expressiveness, while enhancing our mental and physical well-being. So practice hard, everyone! Let’s get as good as possible, together. I look forward to seeing you in class this Spring!
Director, Jazzschool Community Music School