What You Should Know About Jazz Music

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Since November 2011, every April 30th marks an International Jazz day. The United Nations in favour of UNESCO set aside this day in honour of Jazz music and its enduring legacy, and also in recognizing the power of this music to bring people together.

“International Jazz Day brings together communities, schools, artists, historians, academics, and jazz enthusiasts all over the world to celebrate and learn about jazz and its roots, future and impact”

I know this may come to some as surprising, but the reasons behind designating a day as the International Jazz day is worth the while owing to the enormous benefits of Jazz music.

So, Why Jazz?

According to the UN, Jazz can do the following:

  • Jazz breaks down barriers and creates opportunities for mutual understanding and tolerance;
  • Jazz is a vector of freedom of expression;
  • Jazz is a symbol of unity and peace;
  • Jazz reduces tensions between individuals, groups, and communities;
  • Jazz fosters gender equality;
  • Jazz reinforces the role youth play for social change;
  • Jazz encourages artistic innovation, improvisation, new forms of expression, and inclusion of traditional music forms into new ones;
  • Jazz stimulates intercultural dialogue and empowers young people from marginalized societies.

Origin of Jazz

Jazz is said to have come into existence in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Some research dated its birth to the early 20th century. One unique thing is that Jazz was born in New Orleans in the United States of America about 100+ years ago but its roots can be found in the musical traditions of both Africa and Europe. New Orleans is a city with nightlife, and inhabits people of different origins and cultures. However, some said, Jazz probably evolved from slave songs and spirituals (religious African American folk songs). Some strongly belief that jazz is a union of African and European music. From African music, jazz got its: rhythm and “feel”

Jazz International Day                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        In November 2011, The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) officially designated April 30 as International Jazz Day in order to highlight jazz and its diplomatic role of uniting people in all corners of the globe

For UNESCO Director-General, Audrey Azoulay, International Jazz Day is intended to raise awareness in the international community of the virtues of jazz as an educational tool, and a force for peace, unity, dialogue and enhanced cooperation among people. Audrey stated that many governments, civil society organizations, educational institutions, and private citizens currently engaged in the promotion of jazz music will embrace the opportunity to foster greater appreciation not only for the music but also for the contribution it can make to building more inclusive societies.

So, by celebrating International Jazz Day, we:

  • Recognize the unique musical style that jazz represents;
  • Raise international awareness of the need for intercultural dialogue and mutual understanding;
  • Mobilize the intellectual community, decision-makers, cultural entrepreneurs, cultural and educational institutions and the media to promote jazz-related values as a vector of UNESCO’s mandate, pioneering role and intellectual mission;
  • Reinforce international cooperation and communication in the field of jazz music

Other ways Jazz can benefit you

Research done on Jazz music has proven it healthy to human health.

Jazz improves health, Top masters in healthcare says the relaxing effect of jazz music can have incredible healing influence since stress is the root cause of health problems. Jazz physically changes one’s body by lowering the heart and respiratory rate.

Stroke Recovery

Listening to jazz and other music directly after a stroke improves verbal memory, focus and mood.

In just 3 months after a stroke…
• Music Listeners’ verbal memory increased 60% and focused attention increased 17%.
• Non-Listeners’ verbal memory increased 29% and focused attention increased 0%.
• Audio Book Listeners’ verbal memory increased 18% and focused attention increased 0%.

On Mind, Focus and Energy

Listening to Jazz can actually have an effect on the type of brain waves you produce – which can be stimulating or relaxing.

Cool tones of jazz and its complex rhythms can bring natural relief for mind & body.  Listening to the distinctive syncopation of some jazz can bring about theta brain waves, the most highly creative brain wave. They inspire new insights and solutions to unresolved problems

Stress Relief

Listening to relaxing music is just as effective at reducing anxiety as a massage.
ALPHA brain waves (8 to 14 hertz): Listening to music around 60 BPM’s can cause the brain to synchronize with the beat, resulting in alpha brainwaves. They make you relaxed but conscious.
DELTA brain waves (under 4 hertz): Listening to calming music in a relaxed position for at least 45 minutes produces delta brainwaves which can induce sleep… better sleep.
Better Sleep: Studies shows that just 45 min of soft, slow music (60-80 BPM) like jazz, before bedtime results in better and longer night-time sleep as well as less dysfunction during the day:
• After 1 week, 26% were sleeping better.
• After 3 weeks, 35% were sleeping better.
Less Depression: After listening to jazz music for an hour every day for a week:
Music Listeners had 25% less depression than non-listeners.

Pain Relief
Listening to jazz has been shown to reduce time and intensity of both general and migraine headaches.
Study shows that listening to music (including jazz) can reduce chronic pain. After listening to jazz music for an hour every day for a week…
• Music Listeners had a 21% decrease in pain.
• Non-Listeners had a 2% increase in pain.
Music therapy is increasingly used for pain relief in hospitals to…
• reduce need for medication during childbirth
• decrease postoperative pain
• complement use of anesthesia during surgery

Blood Pressure
Studies show that music (including jazz) and laughter can lower blood pressure by causing blood vessels to expand by up to 30%.
After 3 months of the music & laughter study…
• music group decreased blood pressure by 6 mmHg
• laughter group decreased blood pressure by 5 mmHg
• control group had no change
Immediately after each session also revealed a short-term dip of 6 mmHg to 7 mmHg.
The range of decline is comparable with someone…
• adopting a low-salt diet
• losing 10 pounds
• taking blood-pressure-lowering medication.
This change reduces risk of death from heart disease or stroke by up to 15%.

Listening to jazz for 30 minutes boosts immunoglobulin A (IgA) levels. IgA resides in mucous linings of the body and acts as an antibody; preventing virus, bacteria and infection. The effect on IgA levels continues for an additional 30 minutes after the music stops playing.

Now, Very Amazing Fun Fact

A study conducted by Dorothy Retallack in 1973 played music to plants for two weeks. Plants “listening” to classical and jazz music physically leaned 15 to 20 degrees toward the radio while plants “listening” to rock music grew away from the radio, became sick, and died.

Culled from:

Top masters in healthcare

United Nations

Jazz in America

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