Episode 12: Mastering Coaching and Cueing to Music

Barry Ennis

Many popular fitness classes today are taught to the beat of the music. Those of us that have tried know that this is no easy task! How do we hear the beat of the music?

Barry Ennis

Fitness Professional

Many popular fitness classes today are taught to the beat of the music. Those of us that have tried know that this is no easy task! How do we hear the beat of the music? How do we know and anticipate when the music will change? How do we cue our class to the musical changes? This episode will teach you the general structure that nearly every song follows. Once you learn it, and with some practice, you’ll never have trouble counting and cueing to music. Learn to turn your class into a rhythm driven party!

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

• The basic structure that nearly every song ever written follows

• How to anticipate changes in the music

• Determine the general BPM of a song to match your class structure

Here’s the Complete List of Tips:

Memorize this to learn the general structure of most songs:

One Major Phrase is composed of four Mini Phrases, each of which is composed of Eight Beats. It looks a little like this:

• • • • • • • •

• • • • • • • •

• • • • • • • •

• • • • • • • •

You can count it like this:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Here’s a list of terminology from the episode:

  1. Beat: a rhythmic movement, or is the speed at which a piece of music is played. An example of beat is the beating of a heart. An example of beat is the rhythmic noise played on a drum. An example of a beat is the tempo at which a conductor leads an orchestra to play.
  2. Mini-Phrase: composed of eight beats.
  3. Major Phrase: composed of four mini phrases.
  4. Downbeat: the count of “one” for a phrase.
  5. Verse: roughly corresponds to a poetic stanza because it consists of rhyming lyrics most often with an AABB or ABAB rhyme scheme. When two or more sections of the song have almost identical music and different lyrics, each section is considered one verse
  6. Chorus: the element of the song that repeats at least once both musically and lyrically. It is almost always of greater musical and emotional intensity than the verse. The chorus conveys the main message or theme of the song- normally the most memorable element of the song for listeners.
  7. Bridge: a device that is used to break up the repetitive pattern of the song and keep the listener’s attention. In a bridge, the pattern of the words and music change.
  8. Tempo: the pace or speed at which a section of music is played.
  9. Half-Time: In counting beats, the way the beats are divided is altered so that “one” is counted for every two beats.
  10. Double-Time: In counting beats, the way the beats are divided is altered so that “two” is counted for every one beat.
  11. Beats Per Minute (BPM): A means of measuring tempo. The number of beats occurring in every sixty seconds.
  12. Revolutions Per Minute (RPM): Especially in cycling, an important terms used to measure speed. How every many full revolutions of the pedal stroke in sixty seconds.

Memorize Song Structure! Look at this diagram to break down any song into smaller pieces:

Here’s some homework! Can you figure out the BPMs of these songs? How about half time? How about double time? Can you identify the different sections of the song? How many Major Phrases are in each section of the song? (click on each for the answers)

  1. Last of the Real Ones by Fall Out Boy
  2. All of the Lights by Kanye West
  3. Animals by Maroon 5
  4. Find You by Nick Jonas
  5. My Body by Young The Giant
  6. SOS by Rihanna

Other References in This Episode:

BPM Counter (Apple)

BPM Counter (Android)

Show Note's Index