From Bach to Bach flower remedies
“Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”
Any genuine music lover will readily relate to these evocative words, written during the 19th century by German novelist Berthold Auerbach.
And today more music is available than ever before to wash away that dust of everyday life. Whether your particular musical preference happens to be rap or reggae, soul or samba, classical or Celtic, music seems to be everywhere.
You can blast it out of a car stereo, strum it on a guitar, wire it directly to your brain via earphones and an i-Pod, recline gracefully on the chaise longue watching the proms on telly, or turn back the clock by trotting along to see your (recently re-formed) favourite band.
There’s no escape. Even in hotels, restaurants and cafes, more often than not you’ll find yourself chomping away in time to the drumbeat of the latest chart hits or a cleverly selected montage of appetite-inducing classics.
Choosing the right background music for any public establishment, event or activity is a decidedly tricky business – you want to please as many visitors or participants as you possibly can and alienate as few as possible. So you need to gauge in advance whether your public is more partial to Purcell or pop.
For example, the success of healthspas depends heavily on having the right background music. At both day spas and luxury spa resorts, music fulfils a host of functions, considerably enhancing (or detracting from, in the case of a poor choice) the whole spa experience.
So what do visitors to spa hotels in the UK like to listen to? To find out, I sought the counsel of Chris Chambers, fitness manager at one of the country’s top spas. He responded:
“In rock’n roll classes, our guests love popular classics like ‘Great Balls of Fire’ by Jerry Lee Lewis or ‘Move It’ by Cliff Richard and the Drifters. For aerobics classes, Girls Aloud’s ‘Can’t Speak French’ and Beyonce’s ‘Green Light’ are the most requested tracks.”
And what about relaxing background music for beauty treatments? Well, according to experienced Treatments Manager Emma Jane North, the most popular tracks with spa customers come from albums such as Keeper of Dreams by Philip Chapman and Tranquillity by David Sun.
It all set me thinking about what my own ideal tracks to exercise or relax to would be. The relaxation was an easy decision: Mendelssohn’s Hebridean Overture would quickly whisk me away to the white, unspoilt shores of the West Coast of Scotland.
The exercise one was a bit more of a challenge but, given the amount of time I spend sitting gazing inanimately into a screen every day, perhaps Chris Rea’s “Road to Nowhere” might be an appropriate choice…
What would you choose?