Music Matters; why if you’re not paying attention to your playlists you will be left behind. If you are not creating powerful playlists for your classes, you will be left behind, and here’s why.
Boutique Fitness is continuing to boom across the world, and yet I still find myself wandering into new fancy fitness studios that are NOT paying attention to the number 1 thing that will take their classes from group exercise to group experience.
Making sure you are tantalising your members eardrums is the number one reason they will keep coming back. For most facilities it’s not enough to sling on your favourite RNB Beyonce based playlist until your speakers make the walls shake, or leaving it on shuffle. There’s a science to why the best studios in the world keep their members returning, and if you don’t want to be left behind it’s a science you need to learn.
Whether you are a beat based studio (moving to the beat for each exercise) or not music matters and here’s why…
“Music & Rhythm find their way into the secret places of the soul” –Plato
Everyone loves music, right? But why? Before we go anywhere it’s important you understand why music matters so much.
The history of music is as old as humanity itself. Archaeologists have found primitive flutes made of bone and ivory dating back as far as 43,000 years. It goes even further back than this; research suggests music may have allowed our distant ancestors to communicate before the invention of language. Music has been linked to the establishment of monogamy and helped provide the social glue needed for the emergence of the first large early and pre-human societies. There is also emerging evidence that music might have even deeper origins: some monkeys can distinguish between sound patterns in ways similar to how humans can recognise slight differences between melodies.
Why do we still have such an affinity for these particles vibrating to create a sound wave? They are after all just air vibrating against our eardrums that is then translated by our brain. Music is the drug! We like music because it makes us feel good.
How and why does it make us feel so good? In 2001, neuroscientists Anne Blood and Robert Zatorre at McGill University in Montreal provided an answer. Using magnetic resonance imaging they showed that people listening to pleasurable music had activated brain regions called the limbic and paralimbic areas, which are connected to euphoric reward responses, like those we experience from sex, good food and addictive drugs. Those rewards come from a gush of a neurotransmitter called dopamine. *
Listening to music with someone else releases prolactin, a hormone that bonds us together, and if you sing or MOVE together in unison to that music you also produce oxytocin, which causes feelings of trust and love. Wow wee – As the DJ Bassnectar told us, music is the drug.
So as you can see, liking music isn’t as simple as bringing back old memories of your school disco, or giving you something to two-step too at the local nightclub. Listening and more so – MOVING to music releases a cocktail of feel good hormones and neurotransmitters that actually have a positive effect on our biology.
Are you harnessing this power in your playlists?
I go to many classes where Spotify is playing on 2% volume in the background of what could be an amazing class, and yet…I’m left bored looking at the clock, stuck in the pain of the exercise, wondering when it’s over. Conversely, the music is BOOMING but the tempo is out. The BPM does not match the movement so my body feels awkward moving and I can’t feel in-sync with the rest of my classmates! OR the worst (in my experience), the biggest banger of a song is on; I’m ready to hit my long set of burpees (ergh!) and then as I begin the musical drop finishes. I am left with the eerie quiet and low of the bridge which plummets my motivation to crack out 10 chest to floor burpees to a flat zero.
If the class had of instead used the lead up as a rest or lighter movements/cardio – then when the music dropped (we all know that moment) told us to GO FOR IT; my experience would have been vastly different. The music matches the intensity of my output, it matches the intensity of the instructor or coach and will give the participants that extra 1% when they are fatigued and ready for a break. Even if only a few people in the class LOVE that song, our mirror neurons then kick in to help the remaining participants get over the line.
Music is what WILL make your classes memorable, and keep your members coming back for more, but you have to get it right. You have the power to create an emotional journey that allows your members to be fully immersed, completely embodied, and happily disconnected from the outside world… if you choose to curate your playlists with intention.
So here’s my five-point checklist to see if you’re on your way to powerful play-listing, or whether you have some work to do.
• You understand BPM’s (not burpees per minute) and how different tempos assist different kinds of movement and energy
• You understand the intensity journey of your class, and how to match music (the bpms, the energy and emotion of a song) to assist with that journey
• You play with lyrics, and use meaningful songs to pull out emotions from your participants
• Instructors use their voices to match the music and it’s intensity – so that you too are an integral part of the musical journey
• There is a clear plan to your music, a beginning, middle and end – the music tells a story
If this all sounds like gibberish or too much work you’re not alone, but we can help. Visit exercisetoexperience.com
Or Reach out to Emma Masters: firstname.lastname@example.org