Once every 3 months I receive new music and choreography for LMI for the RPM Group Cycling program I teach. I have about 6 weeks to learn the release and be ready to teach it for the class. It’s a standardized program so I have to teach it a standardized way. That means there is a right and a wrong way to perform the release so it is very clear when I don’t get it right.
My challenge is to learn 9 songs in six weeks. If I do it, I get to lead successful classes and if I don’t, the class is more stressful and a lot less fun.
How do I do it?
1) Listen to the music over and over again so I know the songs inside and out. I need to be able to start hearing a song mid way thought and know exactly how people should be riding the bike. If I’m working too hard, my head can get a little spacey so it helps to know your way through the music. I listen to the music in the car, when I’m riding outside, when I’m working out in the gym and sometimes when I’m writing.
2) Know the profile of each track and of the class. The class profile is always the same so song 4 is always going to bring you the same sort of experience, although the timing of the hills and the racing sections is going to be different. There are patterns within the tracks and once you find them, the profile starts to make sense and becomes very easy to remember.
3) Learn the level of exertion that is required for each track. I only needed to learn this once because it is fairly stable between releases.
4) Practice the release with the music playing through speakers in front of a mirror and verbally cueing and coaching until it flows out of me. Perfect practice makes perfect. I can’t stress enough the impact of an elevated heart rate on ones ability to perform tasks that require thinking. Once it goes above 165, I’m pretty useless at novel tasks.
5) Continue to practice older releases as well because they reveal patterns for particular tracks. Also, it takes a lot to learn them and very little to keep remembering them.
6) Attend as many RPM classes as I can. I’ve noticed that other instructors add different things to the performance of a release, things that I may not have picked up on or things that I may never have been able to think of. Whenever one of these things presents itself to me, I usually remember it because it is so different from anything I’ve thought of.
Admittedly, learning the choreography for RPM isn’t as difficult as it would be for an LMI program like Body Jam or Body Flow, but when you’ve never had to learn choreography for anything before, it can be challenging. It comes down to understanding what you are supposed to do and knowing the music inside and out.