July 2, 2004: Headlines: Music: Exercise: Fort Wayne News Sentinel: RPCV Eric Wilson makes the music to move us

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Library: Peace Corps: Music : Music and the Peace Corps: July 2, 2004: Headlines: Music: Exercise: Fort Wayne News Sentinel: RPCV Eric Wilson makes the music to move us

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-141-157-22-73.balt.east.verizon.net - on Saturday, July 03, 2004 - 11:08 pm: Edit Post

RPCV Eric Wilson makes the music to move us

RPCV Eric Wilson makes the music to move us

RPCV Eric Wilson makes the music to move us

Finding motivation: Through science and drums, he makes the music to move us


The Seattle Times

(KRT) - We have all felt the power of music. It soothes in traffic jams, manipulates at movies and forces even the worst dancers to get jiggy.

Look around the gym or urban walking trails. It seems everyone is wearing headphones. Is it so no one will talk to them? Is it to fight the boredom? Or do they need a little help? Studies have suggested that music does help. It distracts feelings of fatigue and helps runners and others in the midst of repetitive workouts to narrow their focus.

So it made sense for local personal trainer Eric Wilson, who happens to be an accomplished African drummer, to put out a musical workout CD called "Fitness Rhythms." For 60 minutes, he melds his exercise-science background with a passionate drumming beat to produce an audio workout companion.

Wilson holds a master's degree in exercise science from American University and spent a few years in East Africa as part of the Peace Corps. One night there, he was awakened by the sound of drums. It was a funeral, but villagers were dancing to the music, celebrating the deceased's life.

"That helped me understand the power of drums, music and movement," he says.

But why would someone need a special CD? Why not pick something peppy from your collection? Wilson's fitness concept focuses on using the beats of percussion-driven music to influence workout pace and heart rates.

The CD begins at an even pace, gradually quickens and eventually slows to a warm-down as it attempts to take the listener through whatever workout he or she chooses. The beat works its way up from 125 to 140 per minute before decreasing to 120 during the cool-down phase.

Wilson surrounded himself with a number of accomplished local musicians who, in trade for some training sessions, added layers of saxophone, bass, clarinet, trumpet and a one-string Afro-Brazilian bow known as the berimbau. Some artists lent their voices. He lets the music do most of the motivating, but he occasionally delivers advice in a baritone that brings to mind the "Star Trek" character Sulu. Essentially, he reminds you to breathe, drink water, monitor how you're feeling, engage the music and "listen to your body."

Whether the idea catches on or simply becomes a curiosity, Wilson says, the process has been "blessed." A marketing class at the University of Washington took on Wilson's idea as a project. His mother is a breast-cancer survivor, so he is devoting part of his CD sales to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.

The music is engaging. I used it for a workout and a brisk walk, picking my own paces but adapting to the flow of the music. Will it play itself out of favor as most CDs do? He makes it a point to recommend that people don't over-play the recording because "the sounds can be played beyond the point of usefulness."

He suggests that anyone trying his CD, which sells for $19.99, have a goal in terms of time, distance or heart rate, and a clear idea of limitations before beginning. He warns listeners not to try to finish the 60-minute program until they feel they are in good shape.

Eventually, he wants to record fitness CDs of all types of music. "I chose this music because it speaks to me," he says.

You can read more about the project at www.compfit.com.


(Richard Seven is a staff writer at The Seattle Times. Send questions on workouts, equipment or nutrition to him at: Pacific Northwest magazine, The Seattle Times, P.O. Box 70, Seattle, WA 98111.)


© 2004, The Seattle Times.

Visit The Seattle Times Extra on the World Wide Web at http://www.seattletimes.com

Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.

Some postings on Peace Corps Online are provided to the individual members of this group without permission of the copyright owner for the non-profit purposes of criticism, comment, education, scholarship, and research under the "Fair Use" provisions of U.S. Government copyright laws and they may not be distributed further without permission of the copyright owner. Peace Corps Online does not vouch for the accuracy of the content of the postings, which is the sole responsibility of the copyright holder.

Story Source: Fort Wayne News Sentinel

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; Music; Exercise



Add a Message

This is a public posting area. Enter your username and password if you have an account. Otherwise, enter your full name as your username and leave the password blank. Your e-mail address is optional.