For someone that’s unaware of the intricacies of jazz, the tunes might just come off as unstructured noise to them. However, for the dedicated music lover, you have to really delve in the melodic line of it to understand what an impact this underrated genre can have.
Jazz has been a part of the creative realm since the 19th century, stemming from the time when African American slaves in the South would play blues music to provide themselves with some sort of emotional relief. As jazz starting becoming popular in the early 1900s, it quickly became known as the perfect amalgamation of blues, ragtime and marching band music.
Ergo, it became clear that jazz had a multi-faceted structure.
But it was only until science became involved that we realized just how much power jazz had. Here are some of those details that science provided!
Jazz and Your Brain’s Biology
First, let’s focus on the listening part of jazz.
The most obvious effect is less stress. When you listen to jazz, the music stimulates a calming effect on your body, signalling your central nervous system to lower your respiratory rate and heart rate. According to research, jazz also improves your verbal ability, focus, memory and mood, as was noted in patients that had suffered from a stroke.
Going into the nitty-gritty, jazz also activates certain brain waves that lead to better brain function. The alpha wave promotes relaxation, whereas the delta wave allows you to get a better night’s sleep.
Theta waves on the other hand, work by encouraging creativity, and that brings us to the main component of jazz and its effect on our mental capacity; mental stimulation.
As a listener, you listen to a constant stream of multiple instruments, somehow being played in sync without as much of a connection to one another. Jazz by nature, is unconventional. The players use a huge musical vocabulary to see what might fit within their tune. And for someone hearing this type of music, recognizing those notes can be mentally demanding. But the act itself of recognizing those notes can have a beneficial effect on your brain’s development.
This is also why most people often associate jazz music with people who have a higher intellect. Such people have the learning capacity to memorize the tune, exercise their creative thinking skills and use their high-speed intellect to engage with the music. But this doesn’t mean that jazz isn’t for everyone.
To enjoy it, one must simply allow themselves to let go of that need for symmetry and instead, let ourselves be soothed by improvised, creative nature of it all.