Music and Movement

We have now been away from school for over a month. I have personally been out of the building for the longest stint of my professional career and frankly speaking……. I miss the place. Prior to this, the longest I have been out of the building was a couple of weeks during summer vacation. I suspect that what I am personally going through is being shared by many others.

The items which I miss the most, besides the students, athletes and my professional colleagues are the day to “normalcies” which we witness each school day. Whether it is Toby poking fun at someone in a cafeteria line, watching Pebbles wander down the hallway in search of treats as the morning BOCES students load the bus, the daily congregation of people at “The Star” between periods or the sounds of music emanating from Mr. Savages’s room, I find that the little things have the biggest impact on my memory.

I couldn’t help but think of the similarities between music and sports while I was on my run the other day which is what prompted me to write this article. Mr. Savage, Mrs. Bush and our entire music department frankly have a ton in common with our coaches. Although our goals or outcomes are uniquely different, the individual effort and teamwork which is promoted is very similar. I see firsthand the relationships which they foster with their students and it is exactly the same as those which we strive to forge with our athletes. I am grateful to have such a positive working relationship with them and have watched their positive influences on our school for many years. There are so many other ways in which music and movement are connected. It is almost like they are conjoined and one cannot occur without the other.

If you disagree with me just think of the last concert which you’ve witnessed. At the very least, you would have seen a great deal of leg tapping, finger snapping or hands keeping time on a knee. If it were a larger venue such as a rock, country or hip hop show, you probably saw a lot of jumping, dancing, shouting and clapping taking place. Just watch a Billie Ellish concert on YouTube to see firsthand exactly what I mean. Music creates energy and movement is the expenditure of energy. The human body has an innate desire to want to move rhythmically.

Now more than ever, it is important to use both the power of music and movement in our lives. In my own house I know exactly when my kids are in our basement getting to work and moving. The sound of “A” Boogie, Lil Uzi Vert, or Khalid can be heard pounding through their Bluetooth system. Our weights are being thrown around and a basketball can be heard bouncing at a frenetic tempo. Not my first choice of music but that is the beauty of it. What gets one person going, may have no effect on another. Music is ours, it belongs to us and can be a powerful influence over our mood and motivation.

There has been an abundance of sitting around the house lately. These days it is more important than ever to put your favorite tunes in your ears and get out there! I’ve been thinking of the power of music to enhance movement for quite some time and there is certainly an abundance of supportive research out there. A very simple example which supports this claim happens occasionally during gym class. Just ask anyone what happens with the energy level of the students when the radio goes off! Boring!!!

Personally, on my hard run days or when I work out with weights I like to listen to Pearl Jam, Foo Fighters, Coldplay or Chris Cornell. The tempo gets me going and their lyrics inspire me to move. On my easier run days, or when I’m working around the house I enjoy slower tempo music such as James Taylor, Jackson Browne, Van Morrison, or Johnny Cash….among many others. I know…..I am totally revealing my age with this list of artists….please don’t judge. I am not suggesting that you listen to or like my preferences. Again, this music is mine. Yours should be different! The point is, different types of music has a similar effect on each of us. There is no perfect music for all. That variety is the absolute beauty of it.

I would like to pose a challenge to each of you. Put together a playlist of artists and music which inspires you to move. The goal is to walk or run continually for 5 of your favorite songs…..more if you are able to do so or if your fitness level is higher. The second part of the challenge is to do as many push-ups as you can during one song, as many sit-ups as you can during a second and as many body squats as you can during a third. Remember a body squats requires a full range of motion, meaning the back of your calf should touch the back of your hamstring as you “sit” into a squat position. Remember to press through your heals to maintain a healthy technique. After only 8 songs, each of you will gain an appropriate amount of movement, strength and cardio-vascular exercise. This is a process, so of course the early stages will be tiring and difficult. It will get easier. The music will not only motivate you, it can also distract you from the uncomfortable feeling which exercising can sometimes instigate.

Enjoy every note and moment!!

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