Sonny always played music when we flowed, perhaps occasionally it would stop, or the player would act up, but it was pretty much a given that there would be something playing throughout the workout session.
I think I've mentioned before how he used music to get the student outside themselves, to feel rhythms, relax, focus or wake up. He did not have a very extensive collection and consequently most of us came to know the selection pretty well, enough to have a somewhat Pavlovian response on hearing certain pieces.
The majority of the stuff he played was trance-y, mellow stuff, some had eastern rhythms, some were his own compositions which mostly had dance rhythms like the cha cha or the hustle, and then there was some pretty awful 'Eurodisco' that I am sure served it's purpose with it's generic thumping, but am happy that I never need to listen to again ...
So now it's my generation's turn to choose a playlist for teaching flow and I thought I'd share a few musical ideas that seem to work very well for me. If they have anything in common it's a fairly languorous back beat wherin it is possible to insert syncopations, counter rhythms and break beats. It's actually very fun to flow to Hendrix or The Prodigy, The Sword or the soundtrack to Sucker Punch ... but it just tends to get a bit exciting, so if you are teaching or trying to focus, here is a short playlist of rhythms that seem to fit the bill:
ORISHAS - 537 CUBA
MORCHEEBA - BLINDFOLD
CURTIS MAYFIELD - SUPERFLY
DEATH IN VEGAS - ALL THAT GLITTERS
BLAKROC - DOLLAZ AND SENSE
AMON TOBIN - 4 TON MANTIS
AMADOU AND MARIAM - SENEGAL FAST FOOD
And for some local flavor :-)
THE COUP - DIG IT