Music and Fitness at the Middle School
Middle School Health Class Discovers
How Music Affects Fitness
“Musick has Charms to sooth a savage Breast…
Many are familiar with this famous opening line composed by Seventeenth century poet William Congreve in The Mourning Bride. Even though this may not be the actual inspiration for their semester-long project, Seventh-grade students in Mrs. Jodi Maurici’s Health Class tried to determine if there were indeed a physical correlation between music and the body by measuring heart rates.
To begin their investigation, the students were seated comfortably in the dim lighting of the Middle School Planetarium to experience widely varying BPM’s or Beats Per Minute as they listened to different kinds of musical genres. After each selection of music was played for 5 minutes, it was switched off, and the students measured and recorded their heart rates on a sheet entitled “Various Genres and Heart Rates”.
After gathering the data in this manner, the students created a graph that helped them answer the following questions:
1-Which music generated the lowest heart rate?
2-Which music generated the highest heart rate?
3-Why do you presume the above to be true?
4-Do you notice that certain songs energize you while others relax you? Explain and give examples.
5-Why do you believe your heart rate responded the way it did to the various selections?
6-What other factors may have had an effect on your findings?
After all their information was collected, the students concluded part one of the project by analyzing it and making inferences on the reasoning behind the outcomes.
In part two of the project, the students learned how to determine Beats Per Minute using an online metronome so as to create a "playlist" for a personal workout. After being fitness-tested in Health class, the students followed instructions on how to create workouts in each of the four major components of fitness: 1. Muscular strength and endurance, 2.Cardiovascular/cardio respiratory, 3. Flexibility, and 4. Body composition.
Utilizing the technique learned in Mrs. Maurici’s class, they completed the project by creating a video workout complemented with a playlist that would allow for the fluctuations of their heart rate at various sections of the workout.
It was a successful project in many ways, which the students found very invigorating—pun intended. They were particularly amazed by the effects that a variety of music had on their physical wellbeing and mental attitude, and can now look forward to channeling both their music and fitness for a healthy future.