No music? What do I do now?

This morning the stereo decided not to work in class and I was forced to think quickly on my feet. What would you do in this situation? If you plan on teaching for a while, you will most likely have to teach a class without music at some point in your career. But never fear, as scary as it sounds at first, it could actually turn out to be a great learning experience and improve your coaching skills. I tell you how here. It’s been some time since this has happened to me, but I had to teach without music this morning. If you have been teaching for a while, you have probably encountered this challenge before as well. If you haven’t, just wait! 😉


  1. seriously? More money on top of the annual dues………this site is becoming a greed monster. Please ” keep it real ” Jennifer

  2. Happened to me once, in a class where the bikes are out in an open space and you have to wear headphones! System for some reason didn’t like my iPod and the manager of that club to me ‘oh you have an “old” version – sorry darlin’ not old new but the classic version – moving on. Got the class started in the warmup, took off my headphones and went from person to person telling them what I wanted. I too reverted to an interval profile and kept moving from one to the next, to the next. This way, each person was given a specific task to accomplish be it cadence driven, resistance or power. I circuled these three things amongst the group.

    No panic, just go into coaching mode as mentioned. It really makes you focus on what you want to put across. Makes you think about the words you use, and how you address your participants.

    My director came up after she heard what happened saying she was watching from a distance and loved how calmly it all went down and that the class took place without yelling of screaming. It definitely made me realize what I am capable of doing off the bike.

  3. Great article, as usual.
    This hasn’t happened yet….but when it does I’ll be ready!
    I always carry an extra IPOD and a portable boom box in my car….just in case.

  4. For me it was a real confidence builder, no more hiding behind the tunes and beats. I had to be up front and present. I had to sell the notion of NO music to a full class (not fun nor easy). I dont remember what profile I taught but I do remember some key cues: 1) There is music all around you, the purr of the chains, the rub of the flywheel and the resistance pad, 2) Your body makes rhythm and music, so you always have your own internal beat box (heart, breath, spirit energy), 3) You will notice how much of a distraction normal music can be when its gone, 4) Only in a calm ‘quite’ place can one truly find themselves.

    Try this on your own, dont’ wait for the stereo to break….it will make you a better instructor, I promise!

  5. i was attending a class and when came time to start indoor cycling instructor(whom has been teaching for 10 yrs) said oh the stereo is broken there is no class today to a full room, i stood up and said i will teach without music a class just like Lance Armstrong Trains, half of the room left and half stayed, it was an awesome class!! i used my stopwatch in my smart phone, everyone whom stayed learned about RPE(in this gym the instructors just play music without any class structure or intensity goal) and i did the over under threshold training to rpe,
    thank you Jennifer for all your instruction, it took me a while to get it and now i feel i am at just another level of giving the best instruction available, thank you again!!

  6. It has happened to me twice. Once, it wasn’t music-less, but the system blew up in the class previous to mine and the instructor didn’t tell me. I had a very small class, I put my phone in the center, slapped Pandora on and told them that this ride was an All Terrain on a path we had never explored before. I took the queue from each song to change or keep the terrain and HR.

    The second time, NO MUSIC, I kept the lights on (we have a very dark room with dim colored lights) and told them we were training like the pro’s and I was their coach. They groaned when they learned there was no music to distract their brains. I trained them off the bike, timed accelerations, and got in their faces (kindly, telling them when they needed to give me more, and when they were doing great). A few people came to me after class and told me how anxious they had been thinking it would suck but found that the 50 minutes FLEW by! I was so happy, they really had worked hard AND enjoyed the challenge! Yay team Doral!

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