A crew from ESPN films University of Rochester Eastman School of Music Professor and double bass soloist James VanDemark and his students at ROC Boxing & Fitness in Rochester May 03, 2012. VanDemark initiated the program after taking up boxing three years ago and noticing the benefits it conferred upon his playing. // photo by J. Adam Fenster / University of Rochester

The connection of our bodies to the bass is so important.  Because of the physical demands of our lovely instrument, we need to cross-train a bit and make sure we are always at our best for playing.  With that in mind, we’ve offered courses in the past that deal with stretching, yoga, Alexander Technique, Tai-chi, etc.  To me, the physical motions are slow, smooth, and connected to the earth.

We now have the possibility of exploring another approach to the body – bass relationship:  Boxing.  No, we’re not using the bass as our sparring partners.  It isn’t a new form of ultimate fighting.  This is serious cross-training.  Eastman Bass Professor James VanDemark started taking up boxing a few years ago.  He found that boxing was helping his performance as a musician.

This is what he told the Wall Street JournalThe sport hinges on rhythm—the one-two combinations, the steady breathing and even the speed bag, which boxers punch in triplets. “Ba-da-dah! Ba-da-dah!” he explained. It became clear to him that boxing and music intersect. “It’s all about muscle coordination and rhythm,” he said.  To read more about it, click here.  It is a very interesting article and definitely worth the read.

He initially presented the training course to his bass students and the weekly workouts are now offered to the entire Eastman student body as a part of its wellness initiative.  Students report that they are enjoying it because of the intensity and fun.

Classes are currently offered at ROC Boxing & Fitness Center by VanDemark’s trainer Dom Arioli.  ESPN is even covering the story to explore boxing’s effect on musical performance.

So, what do you think?