Choosing the right music for your playlist can make your classes "funtastic."
I'm currently using a water-themed playlist in my Splash Dance classes at the YMCA. Every song has some connection or reference to water, including Jimmy Buffet's "Fins." During the chorus, my class sings the lyrics about shark fins to the right and left with gusto. Afterwards, one of the men told me that the routine was "fin-tastic." Then he added, "No, it was "fun-tastic!"
Let's look at the ways music can inspire, motivate and leave your class with an emotional high.
1. Music can be a time machine: people associate certain songs with important events and significant times during their life, especially their youth. Choosing songs that were popular when your participants were teens and young adults takes them on a journey back in time to positive memories.
2. Our bodies all contain a natural rhythm maker: our hearts. Our hearts pump blood rhythmically like a bass drum pounding out beats per minute. Interestingly, people tend to exercise at a heart rate that corresponds to the beats per minute of the music they're moving or dancing to. Faster music tends to elicit a higher heart rate, which is why yoga tends to be performed to slow peaceful music and spinning is done to fast, high energy music. There are exceptions to this, such as working double time to a slower song.
3. Music that inspires us to sing, clap our hands and snap our fingers helps relieve stress and raise our energy levels, especially in a group. Thus, using music that gets your class doing the same will raise the energy not only in your class, but in you and your participants.
4. The right music can make the time pass quickly. Personally, there are very few classes that I would take if music wasn't involved. I find the prospect of working out w/o music to be boring. But a great playlist can make a fifty-minute class seem like half that amount of time.
5. Music can also inspire theatricality, which can entertain and motivate your people. I like to think of my aqua classes as "Water Fitness Theater." All the deck is my stage and my playlist gives me ideas for fun hats, props, costumes and choreography. Tempo changes and musical quirks also suggest choreography, drills, and fun games and formations.
Examples: During the 60s song "Red Rubber Ball" we play a game with balls. The theme to JAWS inspired a game of tag with "it" wearing shark goggles. For "The Stars and Stripes Forever" I wear flag-inspired attire as we perform a variety of marching moves. "Welcome to Burlesque" by Cher has me wearing a feather boa and dancing the tango. The possibilities are endless.
So if you've never taught exercise to music, think about the type of class or classes you teach, who your participants are, and then brainstorm some ideas for a playlist. If you're not sure about taking the plunge, try dipping your big toe into the water of using music in your class and incorporate a few songs into the sounds of silence. You may find yourself hooked and your class begging for more.
Lover of dance, Zumba and aquatic fitness. And Wave Webs aqua gloves.