I came into the fitness world via yoga so, for my first several years in the industry, I was not required in any way shape or form to teach to the beat. When I expanded into other formats, I really didn’t know how to teach to the music (or musicality) and I told myself that not teaching to the music made my classes more inclusive since not everyone moves at the same pace. I honestly believed that until I learned the benefits of musicality, which include:
- Your class can more easily follow along.
- Most of the class will move together (if a significant portion of class cannot keep up, consider changing the speed of your music or simplify some of your exercises).
- You will more quickly spot students who need help.
- You can give more alignment and adjustment cues because you won’t always be counting in your head.
- It makes classes more fun.
I am still a work in progress when it comes to teaching to the beat, I still feel I have a lot to learn but here’s what’s helped me finally incorporate some musicality into my classes:
- Take cycling. I think this is the easiest introduction to the music. Since you don’t have to move around the room, it removes a lot of awkwardness but you still hear the beat and many instructors suggest you match the music here and there throughout class.
- Teach cycling. Just like it’s the easiest introduction to hearing the beat, it’s also a way to take baby steps into teaching with musicality.
- Take Step. If you’re like me, maybe you’ll feel like a fool for your first several classes but stick with it and take at least 10 classes before you give up. Do what you can but even if you stay with the most basic steps and skip the fancy stuff, you move to the music the entire time so it’s almost guaranteed you’ll start making that music-movement connection in your mind.
- Practice! The same way we get good at anything else works for musicality too!
- Take a course or workshop. There are several continuing education courses about musicality and I have my eye on a digital online course right now. After I complete the course, I’ll report back!