“Do you believe in the power of music?” is a question continually asked on the band BER’s Facebook page. Who is BER? What…you aren’t familiar with the world of Teen Titans GO!? Well, a quick backstory for you. BER is a little-known studio band that charted atop the Billboard Hot Rock with “The Night Begins to Shine,” an 80’s-style song that was sitting in a music library until it will be plucked up, used in an episode of the cartoon, and then kept growing into its own 4-part cartoon special about the power of music. BER’s fan page has many testimonies to the power of music and the power of their song, including one about kittens listening to a street musician. But I digressed—back to the topic at hand.
Many studies are popping up over the power of music, including studies regarding music and patients with Alzheimer’s, how music helps keep your brain fit, and how it supports the recovery of patients healing from Parkinson’s or after a stroke. Renowned neurologist Oliver Sacks confirms the power of music, “Music can lift us out of depression or move us to tears – it is a remedy, a tonic, orange juice for the ear. But for many of my neurological patients, music is even more – it can provide access, even when no medication can, to movement, to speech, to life. For them, music is not a luxury, but a necessity.”
So how can we channel the power of music—PLAYLISTS? Gretchen Rubin, author and happiness expert, talks about the power of music in episode 91 of her podcast, Happier. She talks about the power of music to change our mood and the “happiness hack” of creating a “Happiness 911” playlist of favorite songs that improve your mood. Songs that instantly get your toe tapping, bring a smile to your face- the songs you just can’t help but sing along with.
A few years back I gave this hack a try. I realized the morning drive to school was my least happy time of the day. There was arguing, there was moodiness, there were scowls and grunts, and there was a general lack of caffeine. So, my kids and I decided to reboot our mornings with a “Drive to School” playlist. We each contributed our songs that made us happy and we listen to it in the morning on our way to school. Even though we were still running late, someone might have forgotten to do their homework (or brush their teeth) it was hard to be in a bad mood singing along to the theme song from Fraggle Rock. Over the years our playlist has evolved. Not only does it include the Jacksons “Blame it on the Boogie,” silly songs like “Its Raining Tacos,” songs from Hamilton and High School the Musical, but now also includes some AJR, Panic at the Disco, and Taylor Swift. We have seasonal playlists like “Don’t be a Halloweenie” for October and are currently listening to “Fall Feelz,” which is pretty much built around “Sweater Weather.” As we have added people to our carpool, they have added their songs to the playlist. It’s a list that meets everyone’s needs at some point during the drive.
We took the project to our Girl Scout troop. During our work on the Science of Happiness badge, we created a Troop Happiness 911 playlist. Each member of the troop, girls and leaders, contributed 3-5 songs that made them happy and shared why with the rest of the troop. We shared the playlist and 3 years later, it is still getting listens.
How can you use playlists in your program?
Are there times of the day that are more challenging?
Can you create a sign in playlist with songs to welcome the kids after school?
Or a playlist of songs that are played during transitions?
Aretha Franklin said it best, “Music does a lot of things for a lot of people. It’s transporting, for sure. It can take you right back, years back, to the very moment certain things happened in your life. It’s uplifting, it’s encouraging, it’s strengthening.” How can you harness the power of music for your program?
(And yes, “RESPECT” and “The Night Begins to Shine” are on our Drive to School Playlist.)
For breakfast I had coffee with a protein shake instead of creamer and oatmeal, because “oats move boats” and I have a timed distance row later today.