Music sets the tone for your classes. If you play music with a nice peppy beat, you are apt to see smiling faces, bouncing heads and enthusiastic movements. If you play music for your participants "generational time period", you may hear them singing. If they don’t like your music, you may see them making faces or giving the appearance of boredom. Music is a powerful motivator and, as an instructor, you can improve the quality of you classes by using it to your advantage. There are no hard and fast rules about the use of music. You can choose to work to the beat of the music or to simply use music in the background. Various types of music can be used in different segments of your class, depending on the results you are trying to achieve.
But music does so much more than improve the quality of your classes. Evidence suggesting that music acts as a medicine are increasing. Recent studies indicate that music therapy has real health benefits. And specially trained music therapists are now taking music into hospitals and community care settings. According to Deborah Salmon, an accredited music therapist at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal, “Music has such a breadth and depth; it can be used in a variety of clinical situations, from pain control to allowing patients to express feelings of hope, faith and sadness.
Researchers are starting to understand how music heals. Studies show that listening to music affects the autonomic nervous system which regulates your breath, pulse, blood pressure and skin temperature. Waves of sound washing over your nervous system can trigger physical changes, such as a slower heart or breathing rate. Tunes can also stimulate cells to create more pain killers and fewer stress hormones. It does this by stimulating the release of endorphins - our body’s natural pain killers and ‘feel good’ brain chemicals.
Although not a cure-all, music can create any mood you are trying to achieve. It can make you weep, sleep, clap, sway, keep the beat, or get up and move. This will give you the opportunity to use music creatively in your class, knowing that your participants are benefiting holistically.
Every kind of music has its own effect on your body, according to the best selling book The Mozart Effect (Hearst) by Don Campbell. It is likely that you will choose different music for the various types of classes you teach, the ages of your participants and various segments of your classes and it is interesting to know exactly what each type of music is doing for you.
Classical Music-- reduces the stress hormone
Chants - imitates breathing rhythms and so reduces your heart rate and alleviates stress
Rock and Country- stirs emotions; stimulates movement; releases tension; reduces pain
Salsa and Latin - gets your body moving and can increase your energy, heart rate and breathing rate
Techno - stimulating and eclectic rhythms relieve depression in some young adults
It is easy to see that music plays a very important part in the mind/body/spirit experience with numerous holistic health benefits, so choose your music carefully. Your classes will definitely be enhanced and everyone, including yourself, will benefit.
Also realize that not everyone enjoys music or music in the pool acoustics may be more of a detriment to hearing the instructions of a class. Always check in and ask who likes your music. Do they prefer louder or softer music. Maybe even have parts of your program with and without music so everyone is happy.
The goal of any class is to provide options so that the majority of people are happy and wanting to return to a class. In other words, try different sounds, tempo's and volumes and figure out what works best for the majority of people.
Realize the aging ear does not hear the high or low tones of sound. Therefore, create an atmosphere of enjoyment so everyone benefits with music.
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