Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The interconnected worlds of jazz music, math, and science

Music has its connection to math and science that goes way back to ancient Greece. Prominent ancient Greek philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle recognized and were convinced that music is also a genre of mathematics, just like geometry, astronomy, and the like. 

Image source:

Modern musicians and academicians are now looking into integrating music into math, engineering, and science lessons. According to Herbie Hancock, a legendary jazz musician and composer, the use of social media and browsing of the web to learn new things is an indicator that teaching methods should now catch up with how the youth are experiencing the world today. 

Even the music genre like jazz has been linked and associated with creativity. Jazz musicians create their unique improvised riffs by turning off inhibition and turning up creativity. Upbeat music like hip-hop and jazz are among the very few music genres that help boost students’ faculties and master essential skills in the field of math and science. 

Through music, students are taught empathy, creative expression, and the value of working together. In a world where knowledge of science, math, and technology is essential, this approach is envisioned to ensure that the youth today are equipped with core values necessary to address everyday challenges of the world. 

Other music professors and educators are fascinated by and interested in this idea. Some, including Hancock, are taking advantage of combining music and interactive technology to re-examine new methods of teaching the young and finding new ways to deliver advocacy and passion to music effectively by developing online resources and apps.  
Image source:
Hi, there! I’m Christopher J. Keehner, Philadelphia native fond of jazz music, sports, and machines! Let’s talk more on Twitter.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Philadelphia's Love Affair With Jazz

When jazz was born in the late 19th century, music was never the same. Jazz is one of the greatest gifts the African American communities of New Orleans have ever given the world. Immediately following suit was the city of Philadelphia, which housed the largest population of African-Americans in northern Pennsylvania. 

Image source:

Philadelphia’s rich musical culture has its roots deep in the early 1800s. Classical and religious music was quite prevalent in the city, and the citizens heavily supported their own symphony orchestra and choral societies. 

As jazz was making its way to the Philadelphian music scene, it was looked down at first as the city’s traditional music was being challenged by this new, high-energy, up-tempo, improvisational sound from the South. However, that disinclination did not last long. 

It was not only the African Americans that were drawn to jazz. Thousands of European immigrants and children of other ethnic backgrounds fell in love with the universally appealing music. 

Image source:
By 1920s, Philadelphia started producing its own notable jazz performers. It hd Ethel Waters, a singer from Chester, Pennsylvania, and two of the most significant jazz musicians in America at the time in Eddie Lang and Joe Venuti. 

Up until now, Philadelphia is still one of the places to be when it comes to jazz and it will continue to be at the forefront of the jazz music scene. 

For more great reads about jazz music, visit this Christopher J. Keehner here blog.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Having a Grand Time With The Grandchildren

Image source:
A lot of resources have been devoted to psychology and social science research about the relationship between parents and children. But an oft-ignored dynamic that most people should be aware of due to its unique advantages is the grandparent-grandchildren relationship.

When grandparents are encouraged to spend time with their grandkids, it would be for the best that they do so. Because regularly bonding with children causes deep, important benefits in addition to enjoyable and memorable experiences.

By sharing life stories, as grandparents do, the young ones can gain small life lessons which they can parlay into significant gems of wisdom as they grow older and become adults themselves. First-hand historical perspectives and an understanding of the past can factor into their future decisions.

Research also shows that children who have developed a strong bond with their grandparents exhibit better social and emotional behaviors, both at home and in public. These relationships can help alleviate the impacts of traumatic experiences and amplify the effects of good ones.

Image source:
And it is not just the kids who benefit greatly from such a connection. A study from Australia shows that grandparents who have spent time taking care of grandchildren performed better on cognitive tests. A better holistic health is in store for the elderly.

Interestingly though, the study also stated that those who minded grandkids only once a week had better test results than those who did it more often. Grandparents can be heroes, but even heroes have their limits. So they better make the most of the time they spend with the children.

Christopher J. Keehner is a part-time businessman and a part-time grandfather, and he is loving it! Read more about the family man by following him on Facebook.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Hardly Remembered: Shanghai's Jazz Era In The 1920s

What comes to your mind when you hear the phrase, jazz music? For most people, images of saxophones and nightclubs come into mind – and gently, ever so sweetly, my favorite city of New Orleans. What does not come into mind is Shanghai. There was a brief period however, when the Chinese embraced jazz music as their own. Lasting only a decade, and beginning in the 1920s, people in Shanghai were fascinated by the rhythmic sounds of jazz. The citizens decided to incorporate the sultry African beats with their own beautiful Oriental sounds.
Image Source:
Jazz was introduced in China at the start of the 20th century due to the influx of foreign tourists who decided to come. At the time, Shanghai was considered the glowing jewel of the country – most tourists decided to stay there. It wasn’t a surprise then that foreign influences were brought in as well. Jazz came in at an opportune time as China was adamant about becoming more Western. It was during this time that Shanghai’s film industry was booming. Many Chinese actors were embracing Western traditions quite easily and were asking directors to put them on film. 

As in the West, jazz’s introduction to the silver screen was not initially accepted. Many people found the music too garish and claimed that it would affect Chinese morals. Parents were particularly worried about jazz’s influence on their children – what with the concept of men and women dancing with each other in a provocative manner. It didn’t help that jazz music also spread among the lower-class areas, being played in cabarets and clubs, where prostitution was rampant.
Image Source:
In the end, many Chinese believed that jazz music was not meant for them and eventually the trend faded away. 

My name is Christopher Keehner and I am a passionate jazz enthusiast and historian. I spend my time learning new things about jazz and posting them on this Facebook page.