Jazz Continued and the Energy Music Provides

Music elicits energy. It stirs feeling in the listener, leading them to react and interact with what they hear.

However, where does that energy come from? What about the music affects emotion? Do the notes a musician plays determine the music’s emotional appeal? Perhaps, but every musician interprets music differently; just consider this song versus this.

Alternatively, a great song with poor execution risks losing its audience. Raw emotion loses its appeal without technical skill to carry it.

*Note: click on any “jazz” to hear a new great example of the genre!

Energy in the now

Jazz, more than any other genre, reflects the present emotion of the performer. The medium provides an instantaneous insight into the mind of the musician. While many genres of music convey this emotion, no genre provides a snapshot into a moment like jazz does.

This instantaneous insight is an expression of how the musician feels. Their music works as an outlet for their own emotions; it is a raw, unadulterated observation of their present state.

Improvisation allows for the musician to give this emotion to the world through their playing — they’ve practiced for countless hours so at the right time, they can interpret their own feelings and convey them as effectively as possible.

Further, due to the nature of improvisation, a jazz musician may not know what he (or she) will play next. Not only are they making up music as they go, but musicians will never perform songs the same way twice.

The uniqueness of each song leads to a focus on the now. A jazz musician will never play the same way again, and so it becomes doubly important to hang on to every note as it is played — it will never be played that way again.

This gives jazz both a feeling of immediacy and a feeling of intimacy. A great solo is like a secret, shared between the performer and the listener. The listener experiences the musicians emotions for a short minute or two before returning to their own mind.

Using music in your daily life

The union between technical skill and expression does not just apply to jazz music. In order to communicate on a basic level, we need to be able to understand the emotions of other people.

These emotions happen in the immediate; they engage and result from day-to-day experiences. To work to understand how others think and feel, we need to recognize the importance of the present.

But, more than just that, we need to work on our ability to communicate and express our own feelings so that we can better connect with other people. This is as important in music as it is in school, business, or day-to-day interaction.

Jazz musicians use their craft to express themselves and to forge that connection with other people. They use music as an outlet to express how they feel at a given time, and allow people to connect with them through this outlet.

The marriage of their expression and technical skill allows them to engage with people on the deepest level — through feeling. Jazz is not the only way to do this — what might work for you?

Originally published at www.spencerkulow.com on January 11, 2017.