If you've experimented with some of the 3/4 time track suggestions from this past weekend, you may have some confusion about how you count oddly timed music - like I did.
Amy had gotten me started with a bunch of the tracks in the ICI/PRO Learn to Ride to the Beat Spotify playlist and then ran off.
While I was writing the post, I wanted to find the RPM they communicated and share it with you. So I broke out my trusty BPM Counter*... and then quickly drove myself crazy trying to tap out the count; One-Two-Three / One-Two-Three and have it show a believable RPM. I actually quit trying to tap out the songs and instead jumped on my FreeMotion S11.0 down in the official ICI/PRO training facility (my basement) and rode to each song. Riding to the One-Two-Three / One-Two-Three comes easy to me - which is exactly why we recommend using music in 3/4 time to help your students Find The Beat - Find The Beat. Some LTF Instructors may get that private little joke.
When Amy returned, I explained that my rhythmic deficiencies were preventing me from tapping out the RPM successfully 🙁
She gave me a little smile and explained; "It's just Beat-Beat-Beat, Tap-Tap-Tap like any music in 4/4 time." "Then you just divide it in half to find the RPM... silly."
So I tried it again, this time forgetting the; One-Two-Three / One-Two-Three and instead just used Tap-Tap-Tap.
And she was right - as usual.
*Here's an old tap-to-the-beat program (PC only) that I've used for years. You can (right click here - save as) to your desktop. It's an .exe file that you need to run each time you want to use it. Your PC may warn you to be concerned about .exe files - you should if they don't come from somewhere not trustworthy (like a spam email) but this file is clean.
Here's an old video showing how to use the counter - I made it back in 2009 and it's helped over 10,000 viewers 🙂
This online Tap to the Beat counter works well.
There are a bunch of free iPhone Apps like this one you can use.
Android Users can download this free App.
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This is good stuff John. I’ve considered posting on this myself but never could find a good way to begin the discussion. You have done that quite well.
I’ve often said “show me the RPM.” Given that one number and about four bars of just about any song and I will be able to cue an appropriate effort.
This discussion of 3/4 time goes to what I refer to RPM multiples. A track with 120 BPM can easily be cued as a 60 RPM climb or a 90 RPM flat road. (notice the relationship). To determine flat or climb, listen to the track… is it upbeat then cue a flat road. More steady with subtle tempo changes, cue the hill.
For you math hounds out there BPM between 110 and 130 I cue as, around 60 or around 90. If they don’t have cadence counters then this is not an issue.
Bottom line knowing the track BPM and hence RPM ( “Then you just divide it in half to find the RPM… silly.”) is the key performance indicator.
I have one question for you spotify experts, regardless of how one derives BPM (I use MixMeister BPM analyzer) if one is using Spotify (no RPM indicated or the ability to annotate anywhere) how do you remind yourself of the RPM for the track playing?
This one fact (no RPM indicated) is what has kept me from utilizing Spotify more. Remember some of us teach more than one class per week. Often using a different playlist for each class.
I thank you all in advance for your guidance in this matter.
Chuck I know Amy writes her out on a card – because I have cadence indication I don’t feel I need to bother.
As soon as the song starts I find the cadence, look at console and then cue the class.
When I teach without a console that I shows RPM, I rarely tell the class a specific RPM.
Actually I’ve never understood why an Instructor would tell their class; “ride at 90 RPM” if they don’t have a gauge telling them their cadence. How is that supposed to work?
The one exception is I’ll cue everyone I want them at 100 RPM , which I’ve found motivates even the mashers that I’m looking for something faster than where they normally ride.
Forgot to add:
This is different Chuck. Amy has me educated on this. Most popular music we would use in class is in 4/4 time = 4 beats per measure. How it’s performed can be different but we usually end up riding to it as; Left|Right|Left|Right with the same leg beginning each new measure.
3/4 time only has 3 beats per measure and you hear the first beat of each measure emphasized = you ride to it as LEFT|Right|Left|RIGHT|Left|Right and as the opposite leg begins each new measure.
In the next podcast Amy counts you through, as you hear the music – it will make more sense then.
Until then, try riding to a few of the tracks on the Spotify list.
Try not to breath (REM) is a good choice to start with as it has an easy to follow; LEFT|Right|Left|RIGHT|Left|Right. Pay attention to how your lead leg changes to match the emphasized first beat.
The bikes where I teach do not have the readouts for RPM. However, I’ve used a tip from a very old edition of the SPINNING newsletter. I pilfered my daughter’s electronic metronome which flashes a light for a selected BPM. So I dial in whatever cadence I’m after (and there are now digital metronomes that delivery even more precise BPMs) and have the students follow the flash of the light corresponding to the beat. I often use the metronome to establish “floor” and “ceiling” cadences since some students consistently ride above or below safe and optimal cadences. The metronomes do produce a sound for the beat but it’s awkward to mike it. Having a visual cue is good for multi-sensory instruction.
Alice have you seen anything that flashes to the beat of the music you’re playing?