Nov 6, 2017

By Cyndy Chwelos, BRM Coordinator & Instructor

Leisure is defined as activity chosen in
relative freedom for its qualities of
(Kelly, p 3)

Kelly’s significantly simple definition of leisure is one I return to time and time again as a teacher, a researcher, recreation professional and leisure participant.

    As a recreation arts programmer, the idea of achieving satisfaction or intrinsic pleasure is an outcome benefit we aspire towards for the participant in a leisure activity. Engagement in the arts sometimes occurs as a hands-on participant, other times, as an audience member. Visiting New Orleans this week had me constantly engaging as an audience member while listening to a multitude of jazz musicians on street corners, in the park, open air cafes and a plethora of jazz clubs. My level of satisfaction was repeatedly achieved through connection with the musician(s) who offered me new insights and appreciation for the resurgence of traditional New Orleans Jazz.

    Let me share a couple surprising moments: one was observing a drummer who utilized a 5-gallon plastic container for his drum, this inventive and creative action captured my attention and deepened my quality of experience. Another moment of wonder was seeing how musicians hold the capacity to improvise. Improvisation is what jazz musicians do, they interpret the music and ‘talk’ to each other as my husband a jazz musician describes. Over time, I have come to learn more about this genre thanks to his knowledge. Learning about jazz in this unconstrained and enjoyable manner has provided me a personal level of satisfaction while the access to all these amazing musicians who entertains and practice their craft in New Orleans quenched my thirst for a surprisingly rich cultural experience.

    In his study of contemporary leisure, Kelly reminds us how the leisure experience increases the ‘…quality of life…by sharing with others”.(Kelly, p 13 )

Most certainly, the sharing of this music with my husband, fellow audience members and the musicians did what the arts and are capable of doing- making one’s life richer for the leisure experience.

Kelly John R., Leisure. Urbana: Sagamore Publishing. 2012. Print