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HFE instructor leading an exercise to music class
HFE instructor leading an exercise to music class

Exercise to music career progression opportunities

5 minute read

If you’ve recently completed your Level 2 Exercise to Music, taught a few classes and built a small client base, you may be looking for ways to diversify, widen the net, as it were, and reach more clients.

Solely focusing on delivering non-branded programmes, which the ETM qualification sets you up to do, can be an incredibly lucrative and long-term career option. You only have to look at some of the world’s most successful aerobics instructors, including the likes of Kardy Laguda, to confirm that it’s possible.

Staying within a single discipline isn’t for everyone however and in this article, we’ll explore further training and progression routes for you to consider. As you’ve already completed an entry-level fitness qualification, the great news is that you won’t ever have to start from scratch. Many of the options we’re about to explore will utilise the knowledge and skills you’ve already gained.

ETM instructor delivering a Les Mills class

Units and subjects like health and safety, customer service, and anatomy and physiology will continue to serve you well, even if you choose to elevate your learning to Level 3 and beyond. Essentially, your trajectory as an instructor from this point on is only up.

Branded programmes

If you’ve already taken the time to read our become and instructor to music instructor career guide focused, you may already be aware while non-branded aerobics is popular with millions of people, that style of exercise to music faces stiff competition from branded programmes.

Without a doubt, one of the most popular brands on the planet is LES MILLS and the numbers back this up. It’s estimated that LES MILLS has partnered with over 20,000 clubs worldwide and there are over 140,000 instructors qualified to teach their workouts. It’s the likes of BODYPUMP, BODYBALANCE, BODYCOMBAT and others that continue to fill studio timetables. It’s not just in-person classes either as LES MILLS also have a robust on-demand fitness platform that has proven incredibly popular and lucrative.

Exercise to music instructor using a Les Mills barbell

Despite their strong position in the market, LES MILLS isn’t the only option in terms of branded programmes. While it may not currently be as popular as it previously has been, Zumba is still a high-energy programme that is enjoyed worldwide. They currently offer ten types of classes and it’s reported there are 100,000 instructors currently qualified.

Other notable brands and programmes include, but aren’t limited to Clubbercise, Konga (by The Jungle Body), Boogie Bounce, Bokwa and Fight Klub.

While it isn’t a branded programme in the LES MILLS sense of the term, pole fitness is another avenue to explore. Just as exercise to music has shaken its stereotype of only being about ‘legs, bums and tums’, pole fitness has successfully separated itself from the negative connotations you might associate with the closely related pole dancing. It’s a discipline that can provide an incredibly intense workout that promotes a great deal of athleticism. If you’re interested to learn more about pole fitness then we highly recommend this interview with Sarah Scott, perhaps one of the world’s most accomplished pole fitness instructors.

Promoting inclusivity

Another effective way of expanding your client base is to take what you’re already doing, your classes and choreography and adapt them so it’s suitable for a new audience. As a fitness industry, we should all be striving to make exercise as enjoyable and inclusive as it can be. It’s for these reasons that special populations courses exist. It’s not enough, and it could potentially be unsafe, to just assume an older adult or pre/postnatal woman would be able to fully take part in an exercise to music class you’ve devised.

Older adults taking part in a group exercise class

That’s why the Level 3 Pre and Postnatal Instructor and Level 3 Exercise for Older Adults qualifications are such great upskill options. Both courses will help you develop your understanding of pre and postnatal/older adults exercise guidelines, respectively, as well as anatomical and physiological changes associated with those particular special populations groups.

Group exercise at Level 3

As we mentioned at the start of this article, the learning you’ve already completed as part of your Level 2 Exercise to Music Instructor course acts as a springboard for group exercise at Level 3. Two routes, in particular, can help you become an incredibly well-rounded in-demand instructor and they are Pilates and yoga. There are similarities and overlaps between the two disciplines but they are wholly different.

If your interest lies more with the spiritual and mindfulness side of things, the Level 3 Yoga Teacher Training a would be an appropriate option. This course focuses on Hatha yoga, which is a more physical style of the practice and one of the most popular in the Western world. Of course, yoga classes can be taught without ever engaging with the spiritual and religious elements and remain a purely physical thing.

Mats in a group exercise studio

Pilates is a form of exercise that focuses on posture, alignment and core strength. Originally created by the eponymous Joseph Pilates, his range of mat-based exercise are universally popular. The Level 3 Diploma in Mat Pilates opens up a range of possibilities. Following the Level 3 course, there are also further ways to advance your Pilates career including the Level 3 Reformer Pilates Teacher and the Level 4 Certificate in Mat Pilates courses.  


For qualified exercise to music instructors looking for further career profession, there are a range of interesting and exciting routes available. Ultimately, how big your client base can potentially get is only limited by how ambitious you are as an instructor. If you have plans to master exercise to music, including branded programmes, then it’s absolutely yours for the taking.

Similarly, expanding into other group exercise disciplines such as yoga and Pilates can really open up the places where you can find work.

An important final note, as we’ve covered in our article about exercise to music instructor qualifications, is that only training that’s accredited by an awarding organisation is going be widely recognised. It’s important that you do your research before committing to anything.

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