For Instructors

HOW DO YOU CHOOSE YOUR MUSIC?

         As certified Spinning® Instructors, we have been schooled in the importance and use of music in our classes.  As Spinning® Instructors who have been on the job for even a few hours and classes, we know through experience how much our participants and the success of our endeavors relies on our choice of music.

         Like all instructors, I realize that individual preferences in music vary so widely that it’s impossible to please everyone every time.  With that in mind, and knowing that we utilize music to create a mood or initiate an emotion or feeling rather than simply going beat by beat, I spend an inordinate amount of time looking for just the right song to play for a particular training block in my profile.  I also try to be eclectic in my choices.  My students know by now what types of music I prefer, but I also know what music many of them prefer and try to include a good, though cohesive, mix.

         A few weeks back we had a hot spell.  I am in the habit of going to work quite early, leaving my Spinning® gear in the car, and then dashing off to the other gym to teach my noon Spinning® class.  One day I took care to take my iPod into work with me so that it would not be damaged by the heat in the car.  Later, as I set up my Spinner®, I was horrified to find that I had left my iPod at work and did not have time to retrieve it.  Oh dear.

         So, I called on every bit of creativity I could muster and taught a class in silence.  I did not lie to my class nor did I apologize.  I simply started the class.  As we cycled through a series of drills designed to make each of us more aware of what we were doing, we found ourselves working more intimately with our bikes.  We fell into the rhythm of the pedals, we closed our eyes and heard the gentle whoosh of the flywheel.  We recognized each other’s breathing, the sound of the clock ticking, the sounds outside of the studio.

         I will not say that we loved it.  I will not say that we’ll hurry to do this again.  I will say that it worked.  It was actually a good class.  I finally explained honestly what had happened and promised not to forget my iPod the next week.  And then I went home to write a new profile and select a new play list with added appreciation.

         Sometimes I choose music for the sound, the familiarity of the piece, the intensity or lack thereof, the length or even the words – or no words.  Sometimes I just play.  I have an entire group of songs that I use just because I like the title!  I know that sounds lame, but often a good title works.  And, just as often, if I share the title with my class, it adds a bit of levity or helps to refocus at the end of a difficult section. g

         Let me give you some examples.  For the consistent efforts there is always something to be found from James Asher, such as “On the Chariot.”  Or try “Spinning Wheel,” Blood, Sweat and Tears.  Road cyclists love the idea of “Traffic,” by Tiesto, “Zig-Zag,” Blanco Project, “Ragged Mile,” John Butler Trio.  Then for the big efforts there might be “Hold On,” Sarah McLachlan, “I’m on Fire,” Bruce Springsteen, “Elevation,” U2 or a personal favorite, “When Your Mind’s Made Up,” Swell Season (-or anything that Glen Hansard wants to dish out!).

         You get the idea.  Play with your music.  Try to use as much different music as possible.  When you teach a lot of classes, it’s tricky not to repeat too much, but often participants enjoy the familiarity of a favorite song – just not too often revisited.   Perhaps most of all, be open to suggestion.  Ask your students for input.  You will receive some excellent suggestions as well as some guidance as to what they don’t like.  Music is motivating; it helps to guide both the shape and the intensity of the training; and it is bonding for those who experience the music together – all riding the same route and striving for similar training effects.

         Won’t you share some of your favorite music with us now?  

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