Jazz it up!

Did you know April is Jazz Appreciation Month?

Ella

(photo courtesy of smithsonianjazz.org)

Jazz is a uniquely American art form. It’s a hybrid form of music that fuses together African rhythms, American blues and European chamber music. There are so many different styles of jazz from early ragtime and swing to bebop, cool and west coast jazz, Latin jazz and more contemporary fusion jazz. Jazz is a music that knows no limits, no boundaries. What a fun style to enjoy with our children!

When asked what the definition of jazz was, Louis Armstrong famously replied, “If you’ve got to ask, you’ll never know.”

Exposing our children to different styles of music can be a fun way to share a musical experience at home or on a drive. Ask questions and play a kind of “Eye Spy” like: What instruments do you hear? A saxophone? A bass? Drums? Trumpets? Trombones? Turn on the jazz tunes while you’re making dinner (also known as the hour when everyone wants to meltdown) and see if a little jazz music is just what everyone needs to make it through dinner, bath time and bedtime. Who knows, maybe it might lead to a little dancing in the kitchen!

Listen to some music where they use “scat singing,” a kind of improvisational vocal singing and then try your own version! They’re using a lot of scales and you can, too! Remember, no rules–get creative!

Not sure where to start? There’s an app for that! Mobile device applications are a great resource to do the thinking for you. Use popular ones like Pandora or Spotify and create a Jazz Station or an Ella Fitzgerald station and start listening!

No matter what your musical background, we can all benefit from listening to more music and more styles of music. And, what a gift to our children that they would continue to become more and more aware of the vast variety of music that is all around them.

This post brought to you by Jenny Leggett who loves the memory of her youngest at age two singing, “Hit the road Jack…no mo’, no mo’, no mo’, no mo’!”