One of the beauties of taking another Instructors class is that you can observe the problems and/or issues they have during class and make a note to ensure the same doesn't happen to you.

Case in point...

I was taking the class of an un-named Instructor last week. Even though I was sitting the the front row, I couldn't hear most of what she was saying. It wasn't that she was trying to talk over the lyrics (thankfully) but I was only able to pickup about 50% of her cues.

I found myself asking the person next to me; "what are we supposed to be doing now?" But then I had to stop. I was getting less than friendly looks from the un-named Instructor, so I turned to face forward, smiled and tried to concentrate on her cues... that I was only hearing bits and pieces of.

There's a perfectly technical reason why this can happen.

Instructors don't hear what their student's are hearing.

The sound levels you hear up on the Instructor bike can be are different from what your class hears.  Speaker placement, room acoustics and the number of riders in the room all affect the sound levels - beyond the settings you make to the studio's sound system.

One universal problem is studios with wall mounted speakers, on either side of the Instructor platform, facing the class. Sound travels in a straight line and the sound's energy decays quickly as it travels through the air. So your participants in the front row get everything, second row a little less and so on. You sit in a relative Cone of Silence. Most of what you hear comes after bouncing around the room = weaker that what the rest of the class hears.

We had a phenomenal sound system, complete with a Sound Engineer and his big mixing board, at our last conference. Big speakers on either side of the stage. I thought it sounded great. Barbara Hoots was one of the Instructor team on stage during Tom Scotto's ride with a live band. She explained to me after the ride that she had a very difficult time understanding what Tom was saying, even though she was riding only 2 feet away from him and neither could the un-named Instructor sitting right next to her. We hadn't thought to provide monitors pointed back at the Instructors on the stage like they use during a concert.

fitness studio sound meter

But our studio also has speakers on the back wall facing me... so this doesn't apply to me, right?

Maybe yes, and maybe no. It didn't help the un-named Instructor in my example above. The distance you are from the source of sound has a huge effect on how loud it sounds.

There's a simple way to solve this* - get off your bike 🙂

When I first started riding in with my class, while teaching to a video, I would begin class up front in the normal position. Then, after we were through the warm up I would dismount and climb on a bike with the rest of the class. Often I'd find myself needing to reduce the volume of my music so I (and presumably the rest of the class)  could hear me properly**.  But then the music would be too low... so I would find myself constantly adjusting my iPhone down when I needed to cue and then back up for more energy.

I figured out that if I started class, with what I thought was a good balance between my voice and the music, I could walk around the room and test what everyone else was hearing. If I was a little too weak, compared to what sounded like the right level for the music, I could naturally return to the sound system's controls and make any needed adjustments. Only then, after finding a good balance, will I join the class for the rest of training.

Give this a try and let us know your experience.

*No, the solution is not to ask the class; "How's my volume?' With each student hearing you slightly differently (or having a different sensitivity to sound) who do you respond to? Besides, in public environments like your class, most people will tend to lie to you (not want to be critical) and tell you everything is just fine, when maybe it isn't.

**I use a $20 wireless Bluetooth connection for my iPhone so I can control it anywhere in the room. This post explains more.






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