I went to the Red Hot Chili Peppers concert the other night in Boston. It was incredible. They put on an amazing show, filled with songs from way back when and their current stuff. It was a perfect mix. I’ve been a fan of them for years, so it was awesome to see them live.
What struck me during the concert was how similar teaching is to performing on stage. It hit me during one particular song- RHCP had just been jamming for awhile, playing at the same level, the same thing over and over, but Anthony and Flea were going absolutely CRAZY towards the end. Dancing around stage, doing exaggerated motions, fist pumping, etc. And the crowd was going nuts. Absolutely eating it up. The energy levels and noise in the Garden were crazy. But I noticed- they weren’t doing anything different on their instruments. They weren’t in the middle of doing epic guitar solos or hitting major chords with their vocals. But the energy that they were exuding immediately transmitted into the crowd.
The same thing happens when you’re up at the front of a class, teaching. Whether it be spin, bootcamp, CrossFit, barre- all eyes are on you. Not only did your students come to get a sweat on, but they came to learn from YOU. It’s up to you to make the experience as memorable and effective as possible. You really are performing when you’re up at the front of a class. If you’re not really into your music or routine, or are feeling sluggish or uninterested, that will come across to your students. There’s nothing better than being in class and seeing the instructor really feeling what they are doing. Sure, out of context you would maybe feel self conscious about head bopping or fist pumping or giving a whole lotta “woot woot!”s, but YOUR energy will transmit into your students as well.
When I make my playlists and plan out sequences for my classes, I really try to choose songs that get me super pumped up. Like, goosebumps on my arms when I’m sweating my balls off pumped up. If I don’t care about the music, it will most likely come across in my attitude and demeanor, and why would I want to waste my students time and energy? Even if you’re playing a song that’s silly, or it might just be your own personal taste (Larger than Life, BSB anyone?) just OWN IT. I’m going to have that image of Flea and Anthony going apeshit on stage before every class. Transmit your energy and excitement into your “performance” and your students will respond. And, I have to say, there is NOTHING better than watching your class get super in the zone.
So next time you go to get up on “stage”, channel your inner rock star and just let it all out.