The dark cold winter days are nearly over with and the weather is taking a turn for the better. It’ll soon be warm on a regular basis, more daylight, and less school. So with that in mind I thought I’d like to talk about a topic I often never hear musicians speak about. Our health. In the hyper competitive jazz world we put in an exorbiant amount of hours in the practice room. We live in a culture where if you are not spending all of your free time in the shed then not only will you not make it as a musician. It means you are not taking this seriously, you don’t love it.
Because of this mentality so many of us lack other skills that are necessary in life. We can’t socialize with non musicians, some struggle with reading or writing college level work, and many of us fail to eat well and exercise. I find myself in all these groups minus the writing one (or so I hope). I spend all my time practicing, performing, blogging and hosting a weekly radio show, that eating healthy and working out are thrown by the wayside because of inconvenience. Sure I can cook a meal and sit at a table like a normal human being. But that takes like an hour right?Or I can brew some coffee, have a muffin and only stop for like ten minutes. Yeah I’m gonna do that. I’ll eat something better later. But later never comes.
Working out follows the same logic. You start to use excuses like “I don’t have time” “I’m not that bad” or “I’d rather be shedding”. It’s time for the music community to realize that our health matters and just taking an hour a day can have such a huge impact on our lives. I see far too many teachers and students who are fantastic musicians but are out of shape, many with heart problems, diabetes, obesity, etc. Again as I write this I’m a better musician, writer, and radio host than I have ever been. However, I feel this pot belly growing…
So I decided to start long distance running as a way to get healthier, stay fit, and clear my head, Before I did long distance running in high school and I loved it. The only downside for me has been that this winter it was cold and I got lazy. Now that it’s warm again I intend on continuing to run and be in the best shape I’ve been in since those high school years.
Running has also helped me with Jazz believe it or not. It teaches me to be patient with progress, gives me discipline, and is relaxing to a degree. After a bad day a good run can turn it all around. It’s even helped me musically. I’ll put on a jazz album I’m going to review and just listen while I run or I’ll just listen to tunes I have to learn etc.. You don’t have to run, but you do have to do something. This is so important, without your health, you are not just jeopardizing your music. You are jeopardizing your life.