Talk, Listen, and Understand: The Impact of a Jazz Improvisation Experience on an Amateur Adult Musician’s Mind, Body, and Spirit

  • Brent D. Rowan
Keywords: music, jazz, well-being, improvisation, life skills, conflict


This paper examines the impact of creating music in an improvisational jazz style on an amateur adult musician’s mind, body, and spirit. Learning jazz improvisation skills can help build more empathetic human beings, when the focus of improvisation is on reacting to what you hear in a clear and concise manner. Life skills are developed by focusing on deep listening and communicating with other musicians. Enabling a person to talk to, listen to, and understand those around them builds community and understanding, and lessens the likelihood of conflict. This allows growth and progress to take place in society, making the cultural capital built from a jazz improvisation program invaluable.

Author Biography

Brent D. Rowan

Brent Rowan is a professional community musician, a saxophonist performing in a variety of musical collaborations; including Juno Nominated Eccodek, Big Bands, jazz combos, and creative music ensembles. Brent has performed at music festivals all across Canada, the UK, and Germany. Three albums of his own compositions are: “It’s About Time” (2006), “IZ” (2012), and “Where is Local” (2016). Brent composes and arranges music and is the founding director of the Guelph Youth Jazz Ensemble and the New Horizons Band for Guelph, and is the conductor of the Cambridge Concert band. Brent teaches in the Community Music Program at Wilfrid Laurier University and at his private music studio.