“Music is a world within itself, with a language we all understand
With an equal opportunity, for all to sing, dance and clap their hands”
- Stevie Wonder
We always talk about the power of music; how it heals, relaxes, soothes, motivates, inspires, brings back memories, connects us.....the list goes on. In Swingin’ Fitness classes, familiar music is the magical key that enables me to create a program that turns a fitness class into more of a chair dance social. If you teach exercise programs, let music be your best friend. Let it be your yellow brick road to a more enjoyable class experience for all.
Getting to know your participants’ individual musical tastes can be a valuable guide to creating a motivating set list for your programs. Canada is a country whose residents hail from all over the world so it’s a good idea to acknowledge their heritage, ancestry and mother tongue when you choose your music. One of my participants hails from Macedonia. She loves music, taps along with whatever I play and wears a perpetual big smile on her face even though she doesn’t understand a thing I’m saying. Recently just prior to the end of one of our classes together, I explained to the group that today, we would be doing our cool down stretches to Macedonian music. I performed a quick search on Spotify (a fabulous streaming service) and in no time, found a collection of Macedonian folk tunes. I then proceeded to test the waters. The first song elicited a delightful glint of recognition from my Macedonian friend. Fast forward to the next song; her arms were high in the air with delight and she started singing along. Her joy was infectious and the entire class felt the emotion of her experience. It was awesome.
Sometimes you get people who are reluctant or just not in the mood to participate in exercise programs. I’m sure we can all identify with those feelings. These situations create the perfect opportunity to use our magical key containing familiar music to create a desire for them to join in. There is one gentleman in my programs who loves anything sung in French so when he’s having a tough day “je joue un chanson en français”.
Sometimes medication can cause participants to get a bit drowsy. When this happens, a little uptempo musical caffeine can do the trick. Two recent favourites “Mama’s Little Baby Love’s Shortenin’ Bread” sung by Etta James and Nat King Cole’s version of “Skip To My Lou” have been proven very effective. On a bit of a humorous note, recently, when playing a very popular tune called “Love and Marriage” one of the ladies who is a frequent soloist in a class I teach made us all giggle when it sounded as if she sang, “Love and marriage go together like a horse and CABBAGE”. It was a priceless shared moment and she kindly let me play it up for entertainment sake.
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