We all rely on music as a tool. Tools are used for building things and it's common to describe our practice of creating profiles as; "I'm building my class". Most of us put a bunch of effort into; "building our playlist". Track selection is often by BPM or song length. We categorize and file/store our music in ways designed make the selection quicker and easier, i.e. flats, climbs, etc...

In my workshop at home I do the same thing. I have a big tool box with a bunch of drawers. Each drawer has a specific type of tool (sockets, wrenches, screwdrivers), many are arranged by size (1/4", 1/2", 10mm, 14mm), or purpose (Phillips Head, Straight Blade, Allen Head).

I'm a self-professed "Tool Guy" - Tim Taylor was one of my favorite TV characters of all time. Tim understood it's "all about the tools". My Grandfather was often accused (by his wife) of "spending 5 hours to design and build a tool that would save him 2 minutes, on a job he'd only do once." So I come by this naturally 🙂 Whenever I need to build/fix/repair or create something the first thing I do is find the tools I'll need for the job. And no, I'm not beyond spending an afternoon/day/month designing a tool to solve some problem I'm having. Case in point is my Red Pedal Tool for studios using the red Schwinn triple link pedals. That took about a year from start, to a finished product.

My class preparation probably isn't much different from yours [wlm_firstname]. I start with a basic "plan" and then I select different tracks based on their value as a tool; "I need a 6 minute song @ 150 BPM for this climb I have planned" isn't any different from; "I need a 14mm end-wrench to remove the lawnmower blade, so I can sharpen it".

The resulting playlist is very functional, very Indoor Cycling 2.0. But I'm learning can also be a bit sterile - dare I say soulless?

This morning a long-time member said hello to me, as I was leaving the club after my 6:00 am class. Her comment stopped me in my tracks; "I so wish I had taken your class this morning John... everyone was saying how great the music was".

That's not something I hear very often, to be truthful, almost never. What was different this morning? I didn't use a playlist of my own creation. In fact the playlist I used didn't even fit what I had planned. The BPM was all wrong, efforts started in the middle of the songs - and often continued through track changes. There was nothing right about any of it (Rick Springfield?) - the musical equivalent of using a butter knife instead of a proper screwdriver... and yet they loved it.

This morning I used Team ICG Master Trainer Missy Crosson's playlist from her ICI/PRO Podcast # 263 — Rolling to the Classics Audio PROfile.

So, Is it wrong to rely on music as a tool? I'm seeing how it could be for me.


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