Music Outside the Juke Box

Here is another outstanding contribution from Biray Alsac on a topic of great personal interest to me!  Music plays a very large role in how our classes are received, so I know you will appreciate this great info from Biray!

Music Outside the JukeBox!
By Biray Alsac

It’s no secret – music can make or break any group fitness class. Without good tunes, members may tune out (or listen to their iPod while exercising to their own beat). So, instructors are always looking for new songs (or remix of old songs) that continue to engage and motivate participants.

With websites like iTunes, Napster and Pandora (a site that recommends new music based on songs you already like), there are endless opportunities to discover new material. But sometimes we don’t have time to search for new music or find different resources on the web. Read below to learn new ways to create your perfect soundtrack for class.

Share Your Playlists and Songs
Platforms like iTunes and Napster allow users to create and share their playlists from songs in their database. Rather than finding a list of songs online or receiving one from an instructor, encourage your colleagues to share their playlists on one of these platforms. This way, you can quickly download the pre-selected songs directly into your iPod or burn them onto a CD. Sharing playlists is certainly not a new concept (we all know musical sequencing is crucial in class design), but internet technology has turned this process into a time-saving opportunity.

If you’re interested in sharing more traditional fitness music (those with a 32-count mix, variable speeds, etc.) check out ClickMix or Yes! Fitness Music. Instructors can create their own group fitness CDs simply by choosing from a selection of songs and customizing track sequence and speed! (No more frustrations of buying a pre-made CD then finding there’s ONE song in the middle you wished wasn’t there.) Instructors can share their personalized mixes with others or choose a mix from their peers. And no more waiting for a CD to come in the mail – these sites allow instant download to computer or burn to a CD from their website.

Listen To Your Members Instead of the Radio
Members love it when you include their song suggestions it your musical rotation. After all, if members identify and enjoy the music you play, they’ll keep coming back! And these days, there are plenty of ways members share their musical tastes online. Websites like, and iLike allow users to listen, review and recommend songs. (Why not create your own profile and have members ‘follow’ or ‘friend’ you so you have a network for sharing musical thoughts). Also, if you know your members are on Facebook or MySpace, you may find a list of their favorite songs on their profile pages, too.

Swap Out the Pop, Swap In the Indie
Let’s face it, songs can be expensive. Even though 99 cents per song doesn’t seem like a lot, it can add up to 99 dollars fairly quickly! So, if you have a little more time on your hands, visit a site where you can download underground artists or royalty free music. It may not be 32-count mix or the latest pop single, but you may discover melodic gems that add to the workout experience.

Amie Street is a site where you can discover a variety of music from indie and established artists. Songs start FREE and go up to 98 cents. And at Amie Street, it pays to listen. Songs that you recommend can ultimately earn you purchasing credits toward other songs.

Freeplay Music  is the ‘off-the-beaten-path’ approach to finding new music. Many film and television producers come here to find scores for their movie projects or TV spots. But what most people don’t realize is its selection of music can easily suit your Spinning or Yoga class. In fact, most songs have a 30-second or 1-minute version of the original song – perfect from creating interval sequences!

No doubt – music is powerful. Rocker-turned-neuroscientist Daniel J. Levitin makes a great statement in his book This is Your Brain on Music. He says, “Music is fundamental to our species, perhaps even more so than language.” Remember this next time you go to teach your classes. If you mess up on your cueing or forget your choreography, it doesn’t matter. Cuz if you music rocks, so will your class!

Editor’s Note:  For additional resources, please check out our Helpful Links and Freebies! 

Read more from Biray at:
“Fitness and Interactive Technologies Together”
“Follow Biray’s blog on fitness and technology”
“Join Biray on her summer tour of Istanbul!”
“The Adventures of Health & Fitness Correspondent in Second Life”


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