Spin Instructor Audition Tips
A question that I get asked all the time is either “How do I become a spin instructor?” or “I have auditions coming up, how do I prepare for them?”
Even though I’m no longer a SoulCycle instructor, I auditioned two times to get there and therefore feel like I have a pretty good handle on the process.
The rise of boutique fitness has made the dream of becoming a spin instructor more idolized than ever. Beat driven music in a dark room, inspirational words, pushing people to work hard and feel good, and essentially being the best part of people’s day.
Though it’s way more challenging both mentally and physically than someone looking from the outside in could possibly imagine, going through the training to become and instructor, and then teaching for a year and a half, was a life changing experience for me in the best way possible.
Before jumping the gun though, especially if you are planning on making a huge life change from one career to another, definitely do your research and know that every studio and company is different. What’s the training process like? Is it paid? How much money does one make as an instructor? Will you be guaranteed a certain amount of classes when you start teaching? Is there a choice to teach part or full time? Are you willing to relocate? Will you have to have another job in addition to instructing to support yourself? Are there health benefits?
Sometimes we get intensely blinded by our passions and dreams that we fail to acknowledge important logistical questions, so make sure ya take a step back for a second and get some answers.
But let’s say you’ve decided that this is something you want to do, and you want to audition. AWESOME! Here are my tips for getting ready to rock the podium.
While working up the courage to apply:
Get info from the studio/company’s site about auditioning
Most spin companies should have information about auditions, or applying to audition on their website. For example, SoulCycle has a page that explains what they’re looking for, the material you need to submit through email, and their upcoming audition dates.
Talk to current instructors
When I was an instructor, I would be stoked any time a rider approached me to talk about potentially auditioning. So don’t be shy! After class, walk up to the podium, or catch the instructor while they’re hanging out behind the front desk, and ask them if they have any words of wisdom. And if you can, talk to range of instructors: ones who have been teaching for a while and those that are brand new to the schedule. The more perspectives you can get, the better!
Ride as much as possible
When you audition, there are a million things going on at once both internally and externally. There should be at least one thing that you know you have totally down and don’t have to worry about at all: your riding. I want you to feel strong and confident in your riding abilities, and the only way to do that is to take class as much as possible. I understand that this is definitely expensive though, so figure out what makes sense for your budget. Crack down on other areas of your life if necessary. For example, if you spend $5 on coffee every day, make coffee at home and use that saved money to go to one extra class that week. Or perhaps you ride at your favorite studio, and then ride somewhere else that’s cheaper to keep the movement going and continually work on your endurance.
Send the goddamn email
Eventually, you’re just gunna have to do it. You may not feel ready mentally. You may not feel like the best rider. You may not have any idea what you’re doing. But when it comes down to it, ya gotta just go for it. To give you a boost of confidence, when I first auditioned for SoulCycle, I had zero fitness instruction background, I had a terrible fear of public speaking, I wasn’t a great rider, and I didn’t even really know what counts in music were. But I said “fuck it!” and did it anyway.
Wait, wait, wait
Now ya gotta be patient. You may be invited to audition, or you may be put on a waitlist to audition.
So, you’ve been invited to audition! HELLS YES! What’s next?! How do you properly prepare?
Read the audition invitation email thoroughly and be 100% clear about what the audition requirements are
How many songs do they want you to teach during the audition? What are the BPM (beats per minute) requirements? I literally had no idea what BPM was or how to find songs with a certain BPM when I was prepping for my audition. I was clueless. So what did I do? I talked to a few instructors. Instructors literally have thousands of songs and most would be super happy to suggest a few for you. Also, if you want to figure it out on your own, download the BPM app on your iphone so you can tap out the BPM as you listen to potential audition songs.
You should pick songs that you like, but they don’t need to be your most be all, end all favorite songs in the world
When I first auditioned, I fell into the trap of thinking that the songs I auditioned to needed to 1. Be the best song ever 2. Be my most favorite song ever 3. Fully represent who I am. Yes, you should totally connect with the songs you play but make sure they that make sense for the audition! Besides the proper BPM, they should also be fairly easy to speak over. It’s ok if there are lyrics, but choose a song that has a few pockets of non-vocals so that you can comfortably speak over it.
Here are few songs that I think are great for auditions in the 256 bpm range:
Here are few songs that I love for auditions in the 100-ish bpm range:
(Holler if you’re looking for something else with a specific bpm! Happy to suggest)
Pay closer to attention to what instructors say in class and how they create the experience
When you’re a rider, you get lost in the magical experience of riding. Which is amazing! That’s exactly what should happen. But when you’re up on the podium, you’re the one that has to create the magic. So start to become more observant about how instructors describe things like resistance, physical form, and energy. Also take note of their presence. Often it’s less of the specific things an instructor says, and more of the energy they give off and how that makes you feel.
Practice your songs, practice speaking, and practice not speaking
Maybe you don’t have a bike to practice on, but at least play your songs, sit on a chair and pretend you’re spinning, and talk over them. Get used to hearing your voice in an instructor role. Go back to your mental notes about what instructors talk about in class. And remember you don’t have to talk about it all. You don’t need to fit a whole class into one song or one moment. And perhaps most important… moments of not saying anything at all are completely ok! It’s ok to simply hold space with your energy and presence while remaining silent. There’s confidence in that choice.
Limit the choreography
Your audition is not about how many tap back push-ups you can do in a minute. It’s about your personality, presence, and your energy.
Know that you don’t have to feel 100% ready for your audition
Because ya know what?! You’re never going to feel 100% ready. So prepare the best you can and just run with it. The only way you’ll get good at auditioning is actually going through the process, most likely failing at it, and then getting the chance to audition again.
Final tips on the day of your audition:
-You’re gunna be nervous as fuck. That’s ok. You’re nervous because you care!
-You’re going to feel really intimidated walking into the studio and seeing everyone else there who is auditioning. And you’re going to be even more intimidated if you all are auditioning at the same time and watching each other. They’re hot. They’re toned. They’re funny. They have a compelling story. They seem cool, calm, and collected. Just remember that just because someone else does a good job or appears a certain way, doesn’t mean that you won’t shine in your own unique way.
-If you’ve never spoken into a mic before, it’s gunna throw you off a bit since you’re not used to it
-If you’ve never been up on a podium before in front of lots of people, it’s gunna feel crazy
-The audition will probably go by super quick as you’re doing and it almost feel like an out of body experience
-Once you’re off the podium, it may have felt like you “blacked out”. All that adrenaline, man!
-Remember that if you’re auditioning in a group setting, you’re being observed not just while you’re on the podium, but when you’re off as well. So make sure to support everyone else auditioning and keep a high level of energy.
-Regardless of how your audition goes, you should feel super proud for doing something scary and chasing your dream. It’s a big deal, and it’s not easy. So celebrate that victory despite whatever the outcome may be.
Prepare yourself for failure so that you can pick yourself up quickly to try again
One of the biggest pieces of advice I tell someone who wants to become an instructor is: patience and persistence. It took me over a year to become instructor. The majority of instructors have had to audition more than one time. Some have auditioned seven times! If you truly want this, you have to be patient with the process but relentless when it comes to trying again.
I think a good mindset for your first audition is to go into it thinking of it more as a practice round. That way, you remove some pressure from yourself, and if you don’t make it (which unfortunately my friend, is very likely) you know that you’re just that much more prepared for your second audition.
I hope these tips are helpful in helping you to prepare for your auditions and chase your dream! If you have any other questions, leave ‘em below.
I’m rooting for you. GOOD LUCK!