A total of three education sessions were delivered as part of the Quarterly Workshop program in 2017. These sessions are part of the Instructor Greatness initiative designed to elevate Les Mills Instructors as the most sought after in the industry. The education sessions were applicable to all programs with the following topics: the art of mastering new releases, team teaching with the music and teaching with vocal contrast.
Q2/2017: the art of mastering new releases
This session provided practical tips for learning and mastering new releases. We explored the three different learning styles known as VAK (Visual, Aural and Kinesthetic).
A visually-dominant learner absorbs and retains information better when it is presented in pictures, diagrams and charts. For the visual learner recommended ways to learn include:
- Watching the Master Class, with the presenter voices off
- Re-writing the sequences yourself and highlighting patterns, new sequences or key information
An auditory-dominant learner prefers listening to what is being presented and responds best to voices and sound. For the auditory learner recommended ways to learn include:
- Listen to the music over and over
- Say the choreography out loud
A kinesthetic-dominant learner prefers a physical experience. For the kinesthetic learner recommended ways to learn include:
- Just do it. Get up and experience the workout
- Get together with other Kinesthetic learners and practice together in front of a mirror
Q3/2017: team teaching with the music
This session focussed on the importance of the music in our programs and how to work with the music. During a track there are optimal times to deliver coaching cues and optimal times to allow the music to shine – by timing these to perfection you are able to deliver a powerful workout with those goose-bump moments (you know the ones!).
How do you know when to be silent and when and how to deliver cues? By knowing the song inside and out. This means you can match your voice to the musical builds, match your coaching to the rhythm of the music and be able to use your face and body to deliberately demonstrate the emotional connection to the music. Try this 5-step process to master the music:
- Listen to your music. A lot.
- Map the track noting the highs and lows of the structure of the track (it should look like an ECG graph)
- Listen again, paying attention to how the music is making you feel
- Write down the emotions
- Write down how you will achieve musical greatness
This process should proceed learning choreography, practicing technique, scripting and coaching.
Q4/2017: teaching with vocal contrast
In this session, we explored how to create more vocal variety, using techniques that performers and actors use to create maximum impact with their voice. One of these techniques, showing how we can apply more vocal contrast is the four vocal “colours”:
Towards the end of the session, we discussed the ability that everyone has to tap into each of the four highlighters, and looked at how to apply these:
- Record your class, close your eyes and really listen to your voice. Can you hear different colours coming through? Ask yourself: is my voice clear and easy to follow? Is there a variety of volumes in my voice? Are my words popping with pitch? Can I hear a mixture of different speeds and at key moments does silence come through?
- Once you have identified which colour you could use more of or which you could make bigger – practice, practice, practice. A good strategy is to practice phrases or cues that you will use in class at least twice to yourself (things often always sound better in our heads)
- Be sure to warm up your voice before class. If you run out of time, try to at least hum a few bars of the song you are playing pre class before you turn the mic on.
- Re-record after a few weeks and see where you are at
We look forward to seeing you next year for more education sessions!