Baroque Flutist by Day, Zumba Instructor by Night Reply

This is a guest post by Bailey Myers, master’s student in horn performance.

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Early-music aficionado and first-year master’s student JT Mitchell wants Peabody students to get moving!

By day, JT studies baroque flute with Gwyn Roberts and harpsichord with Adam Pearl. At night, however – Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday nights to be exact – you can find him busting a move (and breaking a sweat) to some merengue and reggaeton beats. The faster tempos of these particular Latin dance styles boost the heart rate for the ideal calorie-burning cardio workout, and sometimes an upbeat pop song or two will sneak into the playlist. It’s fun, it’s invigorating, and who knows? You might even learn how to dance. At least, I hope I will!

After Thursday night’s class, I talked with JT about his experiences with Zumba. He started attending classes himself at the end of high school and beginning of college, and became a licensed Zumba instructor in 2014. After teaching for the past two years in Ohio, he is excited to be teaching here and dancing with new friends!

Why is Zumba good for musicians? “Exercise is useful (and needed!) for everyone,” says JT. He lists extended breath support, a healthy heart, and a stronger diaphragm as just a few benefits that are important for all of us, especially wind players and vocalists. “Can’t get that phrase in one breath? Exercise! Feeling a little blue once it starts getting colder outside? Exercise! A combination of healthy eating with exercise sets us all up for success not only in music, but life.”

In addition to the three Zumba classes a week, JT is also teaching two Core classes – strength-training classes that focus on strengthening the core muscles of the body while sculpting and shaping the abdominal and back muscles. Or in other words, says JT, “every type of crunch one could imagine!” The class also includes back exercises to balance the core workout and plenty of planks. Don’t be alarmed though – JT says, “It may sound intimidating at first, but it provides a wonderful outlet to increase strength at a pace that is easy to follow.”

Sounds good to me!

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