All That Jazz


#SOL16 Day 7

Music is your own experience, your thoughts, your wisdom.  If you don’t live it, it won’t come out of your horn.  They teach you there’s a boundary line to music. But man, there’s no boundary line to art. ~ Charlie Parker

I wish I were a jazz musician.  You see I played the string bass in high school and college and in groups at church. I loved it.  Arthritic knees and hands put a damper on my bass playing career though. I played Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, and Mozart in string ensembles and orchestras. I love Baroque music and listen to it often as I work. But “classical” music has a particular form; you know what is coming; it is safe, and I have always played it safe.

My son is a jazz musician.  Since the sixth grade he has been improvising – creating melodies from things he has heard or just from his head.  I am in awe.  I can’t do that. If it isn’t written on the page, I can’t play it.  I want to be able to swing and bebop, cakewalk and bossa nova.  I want to let go and be cool like Armstrong and Coltrane, Ellington and Gillespie. I can only dream.

Yet, what are the implications of Charlie Parker’s quote when it comes to writing?  Am I forcing my students to be “classical” when they want to be “jazz”?  Am I teaching them there is a boundary line?  Am I preventing them from creating art?  What about my own writing – am I playing it too safe? Starting this blog and taking on this “slicing” challenge is getting me out of my comfort zone.  Maybe I am moving from “classical” to “jazz” with little baby steps. I have a long way to go until I am “cool” though.

What Parker said about music can also be applied to writing. Writing is your own experience, thoughts, wisdom.  If you don’t live it (write every day) it would come out of your pen onto the paper.  There are no boundaries when it comes to where you can take your writing!

3 thoughts on “All That Jazz

  1. I love this! Music is such a huge theme in my family and there’s so many inspiration slices that come from that. How awesome that you are in awe of your son’s talent. That’s such a cool thing to read. My grandfather had his own jazz band that played for 50 years, well into their 80s and they rocked! When he passed a few weeks ago, my grandmother asked me take a favorite poem of hers and change it to the theme of God’s jazz band needing him in heaven. Music was part of their marriage, their parenting, their golden years. All those greats were the soundtrack of my mother and us grandkids. Excellent slice!


  2. Great slice! Your title caught my eye. My son has been able to play in his amazing Jr. high then HS jazz bands for years now and we LOVE the concerts! I think he’s played every artist you mentioned. He introduced me to jazz – so glad he did. Just go jump in!

    Liked by 1 person

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