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Choosing and Using Music in Training reviewed


Title: Choosing and Using Music in Training
Authors: Liz Brant and Tony Harvey
Publisher: Gower
Date: June 2001
ISBN: 0566084260
Format: 58 pages + CD

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Content headings
The theory
How music can change our physiology
More about the human brain
Types of music
Other factors that will determine how the music will affect us
How trainers use music
Not forgetting silence
Equipment to use
Legality and licensing
Frequently asked questions
In conclusion
The playlist
References and Bibliography

The book
The authors remind us that the first sensory organ to develop in the womb is the ear. Our hearing, emotions and actions are closely connected, and music can induce in us both positive and negative emotions.
The opening exercise asks us to imagine ten specific scenarios, e.g. Step class at the gym, or Doing the grocery shopping, and describe the beat and volume of music we would expect to hear. The authors go on from this to describe the effect of music upon our psychophysiology.
They describe briefly the effects of speed, volume, rhythm, instrumentation, familiarity and listener acceptance upon the listener.

There is a useful discussion of the requirements of the Performing Rights Society, and Phonographic Performance Limited licenses. The first covers the premises in which music is played, while the latter is required for the use of the music itself.
I didn’t know that even if you are using copyright free music you still require a PRS and PPL license.

Opportunities missed...
One of the surprising things to me is the shortness of the book. The pages are smaller that A5. There are only 34 pages of text, when you take out the Bibliography and the Playlist. I hesitate to call the section on Silence a Chapter, as it is only three short sentences long.
More examples, anecdotes and case studies of the use of music in learning situations would have been welcome.

The CD
The playlist is divided into 5 appropriate sections of Welcoming, Creativity, Energising, Reflecting and Departing.
There are according to the publishers information nearly 75 minutes of music on the 20 tracks supplied. However adding up the track times comes to 66 minutes.
Example tracks include:

Welcoming: Arrival of the Queen of Sheba
Creativity: Brandenburg Concerto No 1, Allegro, O’er the Moor (Irish)
Energising: Entry of the Gladiators, played on a fairground organ, Behind the Beat, Africa
Reflecting: Moonlight Sonata, Celestial dancers, Burma
Departing: La La Lo salsa, Liberty Bell- theme tune from Monty Python

The playlist is cross-referenced, with the tracks listed under the headings suggested for primary use and then listed again under the other subject headings when they would also be useful.

The proof of the value of music and training is in the usage, and as I wrote the review I found listening to the tracks positive and uplifting. For someone who is new to using music as an aid to a training environment the combination of text and CD will help you think about the best ways to do this.

Reviewed by Chris Green, FRSA FIoP MBA.

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