Music and the Pool Environment
Acoustics in the pool environment make the use of
music challenging. The sounds of moving water and other activities in the
pool enclosure may greatly interfere with ability to hear the music or the
Aquafit music can be purchased through (other
providers may be found doing search on the internet):
Stereo Equipment for the Pool
Take time to review the Pool
Stereo System available through CALA.
Volume of Music
To use music effectively, the instructor must be
able to clearly hear the beat and phrasing of the music. However, music which is
too loud will obscure the instructor's voice and may be irritating or unhealthy
for participants. Think about the position of the source of music with respect
to the aquafitness class. While participants are moving in the water, do a
"sound check" by asking them if they are comfortable with the volume
of music. Determine whether participants can hear the verbal cues when the music
is playing. Participant sensitivity to volume will vary.
Not everyone will like the same music or
volume. Pleasing everyone including yourself will always be a challenge. With
time you will musical preferences for the participants will be determined. The
instructor and participants must enjoy the music.
There are alternatives to traditional music reproduced
on a tape or CD. The rhythm of the water sounds, drum beats, singing, chanting,
snapping the fingers or a live band, are all examples of alternatives. The
instructor may encourage the group to make rhythmic sounds that complement the
movement. This co-operation adds another dimension to the experience of participating
in aquafitness class. Making music together involves the mind, the body and the
spirit. Music alternatives such as this can foster group cohesion as well as add
variety to the aquafitness program.
The Elements of Music
This includes the tempo (speed) of
music and the meter (grouping of patterns of beats).
The tempo of the music sets the pace for the
class, and can affect both the intensity of exercise and the range of motion.
Music that is too slow may not provide motivation for energetic movement.
Movements with buoyancy, (light bounce) have a natural tempo about 118-126 beats
per minute. Slower music may make these movements feel awkward. If the tempo is
too fast, participants may not have the strength to properly execute the
movements at tempo. Range of motion will be compromised as they struggle to keep
up. Participants will long limbs are unable to perform movements with a full
range of motion to fasts-paced music. They will need to modify the movements by
either decreasing the length of the lever, the range of motion, or by choosing
to move at a slower tempo.
Meter organizes and gives structure to
musical composition. It is the grouping of beats into measures and measures
Meter determines the number of beats per
measure (a regular grouping of notes). Music with two or four beats per measure
(called 2/4 or 4/4 time) is suitable for all the jogging or marching moves, jumping
jacks, cross country ski, tucks and other movements which take two beats to
complete. With three beats per measure (3/4) time, the rhythm and the feeling of
the music hang dramatically. This is the meter of a waltz, polka and other movements
that use a rolling, swaying or swinging motion. Most of the music for
aquafitness classes has four beats per measure (4/4) time). This meter accommodates
movements which are any multiple of two beats, with usual patterns being
multiples of four (8, 16, 32).
The meter of music adds spice and colour to the
class. Meter can be selected to accommodate various fitness levels. It can be
used to change the focus of the exercise, to change the intensity of the
exercise, or to add pleasurable associations to the class. Meter can be used to
focus or to free the body, mind and spirit. Teaching the body to move to a new
meter involves training new motor pathways. This takes time and experience.
During this learning period, the participant will focus their minds on how they
are moving and listen carefully to the music. It may be a challenge for their
spirits to let go and to accept other styles of movement. The climate the instructor
sets in the class often determines the willingness of the participants to
respond positively to the new music meters and to experiment freely.
Phrasing is the grouping of measures. Remember
a measure is a grouping of beats. A useful analogy is to think of beats as
letters, measures as words, and phrases as sentences or paragraphs.
Professionally made music used in aquafitness has 4 beats per measure and will
have phrases or 8 measures, totaling 32 beats. This consistent structure makes
it easy to choreograph routines and time the number of repetitions of movements.
Music with inconsistent phrasing can be used,
but requires the instructor to know the music well. It takes time and practice
to carefully plan where movement changes will take place to fit the unique
phrasing of a particular song. This time consuming choreography probably will
not fit other pieces of music. It may be worthwhile for theme classes or special
Melody is the particular tune of a musical
piece, usually produced by a voice or instrument. It is the melody that captures
the emotions and makes one song unique from another. The addition of lyrics or
powerful rhythms serves to heighten the emotional appeal. Melody is the
compelling part of the music that you hum or sing long after the music has
Humming or singing during class adds an element
of fun to the movement. If a participants responds to the music, they may continue
to enjoy the melody throughout the day. Musical involvement takes participants
away from their daily stresses and helps extend the effects of the class beyond
the workout period. Instructor involvement with the music helps the whole class
catch the spirit of the song.
Lyrics can help convey your message by
encouraging participants to work hard. An instructor can use the words to
motivate participants by listening to the message in the lyrics and being
selective in choosing appropriate music.
The mood of the music creates a particular
emotional quality; a state of mind or feeling. Music is a powerful tool the
leader can use to create a mood; to set the ambience.
Careful selection of music sets the mood for each
segment of the class. If the warm up music is inspirational the participants
will be motivated to get their bodies moving. They will relieve stress and
tension by focusing on the class. The best choice of music will engage th body,
mind and spirit. Warm-up music sets the tone for the class. Cardio music which
is upbeat, energetic and motivational will encourage participants to attain and
maintain their heart rates in the training zone throughout this phase of the
class. Muscle conditioning music with a strong beat can assist participants to
focus their energy on specific muscle toning work. Music
for the stretch and relaxation phase of the class needs to create a calming
mellow atmosphere. Participants will relax their bodies, minds and spirits. This
will help participants release tension to facilitate successful stretching.
Avoid stretch and relaxation music with a sad, depressing message. Create a mode
which leaves participants relaxed, reenergized and revitalized when they finish.
Music and have strong association with cultural
origins, movie scores, seasonal holidays and social rites of passage. Calypso
and Soca music often provoke images of sun, sea and sand. Participants may be
spiritually transported out of the class environment to another location and
time. If the image is one of vacation time, or another wonderful experience,
many of the pleasurable feelings of the association take over. The body becomes
relaxed, the mind clears and the sprit is liberated.