Do you need a Degree to Appreciate Jazz?

by Russ Nolan

(Continued from “I don’t get Jazz–and I WANT to”)

Wouldn’t it be nice to see this phrase more often when looking for a new job? Besides, by the time one completes a degree in a certain field, there is a good chance that the information needed to do the job has changed again. I have read that the primary skill needed in the marketplace today is not a specific degree but the ability to adapt and learn new skills quickly.

Jazz is Like Anything Else…

How does this related to appreciating Jazz? You don’t need a degree in this field either as long as you are willing to adapt to something that is at first unfamiliar. In an ad for Jazz at Lincoln Center, the famous trumpeter/artistic director Wynton Marsalis says that “Jazz is like hidden treasure. The deeper you dig, the more you find.” Of course, few musicians have found as much ‘treasure’ as Wynton, but he makes a point that is universal.
Think about the other things and activities you enjoy in life today- sports, hobbies, specific foods or drink, etc. Did you enjoy these things from the first moment you tried them? How about liking the person who is now your spouse or significant other? It is often the acquired tastes in life that we enjoy the most and grow deeper with time. It’s like fine wine versus the ‘wine-in-a-box’ from the convenient store.

Although I still prefer whiskey, we will flesh out the details on how to enjoy this fine wine in the next installment. Ultimately, everyone has the freedom to enjoy their tastes in their own way.

Part 3

Russ Nolan New York Jazz Educator and Clinician

Russ Nolan Jazz Blog


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