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What does playing musical instruments have to do with boxing? A lot according to James VanDemark, a professor at the Rochester's Eastman School of Music. In fact, he is so convinced that boxing helps make for better musicians, that he is asking his students take up the sport.
The internationally renowned double bass soloist says he took up boxing about two years ago and immediately noticed a big improvement in his bow control and stamina. Curious to see if it would affect his students in the same way, he convinced a few of his female students to take up the sport - And sure enough, it resulted in them becoming even more skillful on the double bass, than they had been before.
The professor, who has now convinced an additional 18 students from his double bass class to adopt the sport, believes that the reason it helps is because boxing is a rhythmic sport and that many of the sport's basic gestures have a connection to string instrument playing. According to him, the constant punching allows for very systematic use of hand and arms, while the speed bag helps with eye-hand coordination. Last, but not least, the sport helps build upper body strength and increases the musician's stamina, allowing him/her to to play for longer stretches without getting fatigued.
So far, this rather bizarre combination is working really well - Students who have been enrolled in boxing agree that thanks to sport, they are becoming better double bass players. We wonder if other musicians will follow the professor's lead and jump inside the boxing ring. Maybe some day we will have an orchestra concert and a boxing match all rolled in one - Now that, would be fun!