Choosing Music for Your Spinning Class
a successful Spinning instructor has a technical side and a creative
side. The former consists of understanding heart rate zones, cadence
and bike positions to successfully achieve a desired profile and
fitness goal. The creative side is the music and the in-class
presentation. Harmony is achieved through balancing the two aspects.
For some, the technical side is easier to grasp. It’s definable, and
the guidelines are clear-cut. Music, on the other hand, is much more
subjective. It is uncomfortable for some of us to realize that the
success or failure of a class is directly related to our taste in
music. The importance of choosing “good music” for Spinning class is
easy to understand, but not always as easy to accomplish. Here are some
strategies to help you along with your music.
upcoming season or holiday can be a good source of inspiration. For
example, if you're creating a class profile in late
September or early October, get into the Halloween spirit by looking
for songs that refer to ghosts, witches, monsters and other spooky
stuff. There are many songs in this category, so you'll
probably end up with more than you can use for one class. Put the
extra songs aside. Next Halloween, just modify the profile and add
new songs to create a whole new class .
When Valentine’s Day
approaches, consider using love songs as the theme for your next class
profile. Love songs probably make up over 75 percent of all music, so
you will have a wealth of options to pick from. Or, if you don’t like
Valentine’s Day, or if you just got out of a relationship, check out
the J. Geils Band and their song “Love Stinks.” You could pick songs
with that theme for your class too.
St. Patrick’s Day, play songs by Irish bands. Songs by
artists like U2, Thin Lizzy, Boomtown Rats, The Cranberries, Enya,
Sinead O’Connor, Black 47, Hot House Flowers, etc., will definitely
contribute to a good Spinning class. Wear your green bike shorts and
put a couple drops of green food coloring in your water for added
holidays don’t have to be your only source of inspiration. Use Pink
Floyd’s “Money,” The Beatles’ “Taxman” and other fiscally oriented
tunes for a class as April 15th draws near. The same songs work just as
well starting after Thanksgiving, during the holiday shopping season.
can also pick songs out of season. Give your class a break from the
winter blues by creating a class using “summer songs.” The Beach Boys,
Jimmy Buffet and Bob Marley are sure to warm things up. Add songs
like “Summer in the City,” “Walking on Sunshine” and the Atari’s “Boys
of Summer” to enhance the mood. Wear your sunglasses, serve lemonade
after class, and make winter melt away for a little while.
one holiday you might want to try to stay away from is
Christmas. People are bombarded with holiday music everywhere they go,
so consider making the Spinning studio a refuge during December.
Even the cool pop/rock holiday songs are over-played on the radio and
in the malls. However, a “Christmas in July” class might be just the
kind of relief your class needs during a brutal heat wave.
can also use time-themed music that is not necessarily about a season
or a holiday. Choose a day of the week, a time of day, or choose now!
Play songs recorded in concert to give your class a “live” feeling.
probably noticed that certain locales have a certain “sound.” Use songs
by bands from those places to take your class on a journey of the mind.
Pick places and music you and your class will like, for example the
Pacific Northwest, known for the alternative rock/grunge sound of bands
like Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Soundgarden and Alice in Chains. Spice up your
class with a Latin ride that might include songs by Enrique Iglesias,
Jennifer Lopez, Gloria Estefan, Ricky Martin and Shakira. Create a
recovery ride to the mellow island sounds of reggae and ska with songs
by Bob Marley and the Wailers, Jimmy Cliff, Desmond Dekker, UB40, The
English Beat and The Mighty, Mighty Boss Tones. New Jersey is the
birthplace and home to some of the best in music: Frank Sinatra, Tony
Bennett, Frankie Vallee, Whitney Houston, Lauryn Hill, Bon Jovi and
Bruce Springsteen. Take a ride through the Garden State while
listening to the songs of those artists, and don’t forget the attitude!
York, Los Angeles and Nashville are all centers of the recording
industry. Pick a town and pick a recording label. Then pick songs from
artists who record for that label. The result might be a unified sound
or a completely eclectic mix, but either way, it should be an
Time and Space
like certain places have a sound, certain times also have a sound.
Think of a time in your life and of the music you listened to at that
time. Have your class hop on their time machines and pedal to a
historic groove. How about the psychedelic sounds that sprang from San
Francisco during the late 60s: Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, The Grateful
Dead, Sly & the Family Stone, Jefferson Airplane, Carlos Santana
and Vanilla Fudge? Pedal on down the coast to Los Angeles and
throw in the sounds of The Doors, The Byrds, Steppenwolf and Iron
Butterfly. Don’t forget about the British Invasion: the first wave of
the early 60s and the New Wave during the 80s, or the Motown
and southern rock sounds of the 70s.
you really want to capture the atmosphere of a specific era, check out
what was on Billboard magazine’s “Hot 100” for any week by visiting
their website at www.billboard.com. Another place to look for music is Apple’s iTunes, www.apple.com/itunes.
The iTunes software is free to download and is compatible with both PCs
and Macs. The iTunes song library is fully searchable, and you
can listen to a 30 second sample of any song before you buy it. There
is also a cool feature called iTunes Essentials that categorizes songs
by various genres, styles and themes.
picking a theme for your class is just one tool to help you pick music.
Every class doesn’t have to have a theme. And if your music does have a
theme, it doesn’t have to be obvious to anyone but you. Just because
you use a theme to help you pick your music doesn’t mean that every
song has to fit your theme. It’s your class and your music. All that
really matters is that your class enjoys what they are hearing and that
you aren’t stressing about what music to use in class.
Rebach is a STAR 2 instructor at Bayshore Fitness in Hazlet, NJ. A
self-proclaimed “music geek,” he hooks up his iPod to the Spinning
Studio sound system for his classes. He can be contacted at SpinBobBikePants@att.net.