I received more responses to the frustration originally expressed by new Instructor Irene in this post; Hey Team > How Would You Answer This Question? 

What I find to be the single biggest challenge as a new instructor is music- music flow, and knowing what drills or activities to do to what music.  
I feel at such a loss though when it comes to setting up a class…. And feel as though I let hours of time evaporate listening to music but not knowing how to incorporate it effectively into what I am doing….

Instructor and ICI/PRO contributor Krista Leopold - AKA GroupFitPower over at - offers this:

Hey John!
I don't know if it is too late, but I thought I'd throw in my couple of cents on this one.
Starting out, the music was overwhelming for me too.  I thought I had a great library of music and so many ideas, but when I finally switched from being the rider to the instructor, suddenly I felt like I didn't know what I was doing!  That's when I started tagging my music.  I use a program called MediaMonkey, but there are a million ways this can be done - playlists, excel spreadsheets, notebooks.  Start jotting down the songs you hear that when you hear them you think, "that would be a great song for..."  I have lists of warm ups, cool downs, heavy climbs, fast flats, different emotions, song tempos and everything in between.  Then, when I know what I want to do in class, I have a go-to list of songs to pick from. However, know that having a nice long list takes a while to come together, so you'll need to be patient as you develop your ear and the songs start trickling in.  In the meantime, I encourage you to play other people's music and teach other people's profiles.  You might be surprised how a song you don't think you like is actually amazing for what the creator chose to use it for in the profile.  You can find great profiles here on ICI/PRO, or over at pedal-on.  You can find lists like the one I described over at Spotify. The links are posted in a Pedal-On thread here:'t be afraid to play songs chosen by other people. This is the single best way to find more music.  It will open up genres to you, expose you to new artists and truly give you more music and ideas than you can possibly use!  Good luck!
Hope all is well with you, John!

Endurance Coach and Stages Indoor Cycling Master Instructor Dennis Mellon adds:

John, let me know if this is what you are looking for.Dennis Mellon 250
Class Flow:
I believe the best way to insure class flow is with good class preparation.  I also feel that class profile should come before music.  A great profile can carry mediocre music but a great music cannot carry a mediocre profile.  I would suggest putting together a class profile that supports your club”™s training or class schedule program with a proper warm up, drills, sets with appropriate work to rest ratios, cool down and stretch, then add music that you feel works best with each segment.  I think most instructors put too much emphasis on finding the perfect song for each and every segment of class.  I only focus on the actual music for 2-3 songs per class then I use it to control the energy and/or motivate during the tougher segments of class.  
I have posted a number of “The Power of 3” song sets on the ICI/PRO website that include music, set profiles, video and recordings of me teaching these sets during an actual class, these may help you "find the flow” you are looking for.

These are great suggestions Krista and Dennis > I'd like to add...

Irene, there was a time when most, if not all, of us have had difficulty with (to use your words) music- music flow, and knowing what drills or activities to do to what music. After 17+ years, and thousands of classes, this has become second nature. I'm thinking I should add your question to the list of things I struggled with as a new Instructor and have now forgotten, it was so long ago.

Wow... I just found the world's first 5% flat road.

Indoor Cycling has IMO too many "rules" that I feel constrain new Instructors and create frustrations similar to what you've expressed. Take for example the "rule" that; "X" cadence = "Y" terrain - i.e. 60RPM is a Climb, 90RPM is a Flat, etc... Rubbish. Yesterday I was riding outdoors. Looking down at my Garmin bike computer on a long, seated, threshold intensity climb, I saw that my cadence was hovering around 90RPM. Wait, that's completely wrong... isn't it? I am climbing a hill with a 5% grade, shouldn't I be peddling slower? 

My point is that there are songs that, independent of their BPM, communicate something you can follow. By "follow" I mean responding in a way that feels natural to you - what could also be described as improvising. Hearing those "cues" contained in a particular piece of music, and then acting on them, is something you might need to learn. And for most people that requires, 1] practice and 2] developing the confidence to go whatever the music leads you.

Yesterday I shared a 40 minute mashup as the Free Friday music. Twenty three different tracks, of all different BPM's and intensities, professionally joined together that I feel would make a great practice session for you to practice your improvisational skills.


Originally posted 2015-04-12 08:47:49.


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