I am looking for effective resources for teaching a small group of instructors-in-training how to cue on the 32 count. I have a great ACE DVD from Lawrence Biscontini but am looking for more resources, particularly those that can be used at home for the instructors who have a harder time grasping this and need to spend more time practicing it. If you know of anything instructors can listen to, watch, any how-tos, or group drills, please share! Thanks!
I had a hard time with one particular instructor who would start her combinations on odd counts, her classes never felt comfortable. I took her aside and played instrumental only songs that had a heavy beat. We practiced starting on different counts so she could feel the difference. I brought drumsticks so she could pound out the beat herself. She was very motivated and practiced until she was able to get her combinations on the money. I never had a problem with any other instructor on this issue. Most people who teach seem to have a natural ability to grasp the count.
This is not easy for some, it’s basically a practice and listening exercise.
Show her the “on” beat then show her the “off beat”
You may want to video tape her teaching and see if she can visually see it for herself.
You may also want to video tape her teaching to the right beat and the wrong beat.
This is something that is very important to know, I can’t concentrate when a teacher is mid beat!
This is a very challenging area and there are not many resources available.
Here are a few thoughts;
– Practice with music designed for group exercise – this will help because the music is “cued” to the 32 count phrase. There is usually a special sound built into this music to let the instructor “hear” those counts and phrases. Listening to the music with a person who has a trained ear and then recording the verbal counts to the music will help the instructor practice.
Many pf the of the Resource Manuals for certifications offer DVDs or web-based video clips to assist with the process. It may be only one or two clips, but every little bit helps!
– ACSMs Resources for the Group Exercise Instructor offers 2 online video clips.
– Kennedy’s Method’s of Group Exercsie Instruction also offers a DVD with a clip or two for assistance.
I would also check (or susbscribe to) the IDEA video library (this might be a great source for instructors to learn)
At one time, ACE offered a wonderful Practical Trainer Program for Group Fitness Instructors, which I had the pleasure of facilitating for several years. All of the suggestions I offer here, I credit to that program (although my description may vary slighty from the original). Also, as suggested by Grace (above), 32-count music designed for group fitness is the best resource available for all of the learning steps listed below:
– First and foremost, the instructor needs to practice hearing and identifying the beat of the music. Have the instructor clap or march to the beat. Once this becomes easy…
– Help the instructor identify the stronger downbeat. Again, use the body. Clap, stomp one foot, or raise the arms on each down beat. If the instructor struggles with this part, have the instructor join you as you demonstrate. When this becomes easy…
– Begin working with phrasing. Start with a full 32-count, noting how the music or lyrics tend to change at the beginning of a new phrase. Count it out. Once the instructor can identify the start of a new phrase…
– Begin to break it down into smaller phrases: 16-count, 8-count, 4-count. Again, count it out loud, and use the body to designate the start of a new phrase (clap, stomp, etc.). When this becomes easy…
– Teach how to cue. Start with the following words (said out loud) at the beginning of an 8-count phrase: 8,7,6,5,4,3,say the cue. Repeat for sevearl phrases. Then cut it down to: 4,3,say the cue. Then actually use a cue: 8,7,6,5,4,3,march wide. Whatever cue is used should only take two counts to say. Once this becomes easy…
– Apply! Have the instructor do a simple movement, listening for the beginning of the phrase, and cue at the appropriate time.
It takes patience and persistence when a new instructor is struggling, but it is worth it. The students really do appreciate an instructor who can do this well, and the class feels much better to everyone. Good luck!
You’ve gotten great suggestions above, but I wanted to share with you some success I’ve had by showing it to them on paper. Some people seem to understand the “math” of it better than just hearing it.
(I draw music notes, but don’t have any on the keyboard. Just pretend the asterisk is a music note)
I write out –
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
Then you can tap on each note as you go through the 32 count phrase, showing them how the top of each 8 count gets more emphasis and how there are musical clues that the phrase is ending. You can also draw an arrow around from count 32 all the way back to count 1 showing them how it loops around.