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

Exercise to music instructor qualifications

6 minute read

If you’re looking to truly set yourself apart from others as an exercise to music instructor and deliver high energy classes whilst developing your career, you need the right exercise to music qualification.

This comprehensive career guide is designed to help you at the very start of your fledgeling ETM career and ensure you’re set up to make the right decisions. After all, nobody likes wasting their time or hard-earned money, so it’s vital that you’re signing up to recognised training that leads to a bona fide qualification.

To help you with the all-important decision-making process, let’s first start at the very beginning and outline what exactly a qualification is, as this is an area that often confuses those new to the fitness industry. Then, we’ll take a closer look at organisations and training providers offering exercise to music courses, qualifications and CPD.

student studying anatomy and physiology

What is a qualification?

A lot of the confusion around exercise to music courses and qualifications coming from the myriad and often vague or conflicting information online. It’s something you can easily experience yourself by doing a few Google searches for ‘exercise to music course’, ‘exercise to music qualification’ or ‘level 2 exercise to music’.

Now, one of the most important things to mention at this stage is that not every course you’re likely to come across will lead to an actual qualification.

For a course or programme to be considered a qualification it must be aligned to a framework. With the health and fitness industry, the framework you’ll need to be aware of is the RQF (Regulated Qualifications Framework). Alongside sitting on a framework, a qualification will also closely quality assured and certificated by an awarding organisation. Particularly if you’ve already achieved a fitness qualification before, you may have come across the likes of YMCA Awards and Active IQ. They aren’t the one ones, but they are certainly the most recognisable.

As well as qualifications requiring to be certificated and sit on a framework, they are also regulated by the Government’s independent watchdogs. In England, that’s handled by Ofqual (Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation). Wales is overseen by Qualifications Wales, CCEA (Council for the Curriculum Examinations & Assessment) in Northern Ireland and finally SQA (Scottish Qualifications Authority) in Scotland.

These regulators essentially ‘have your back’, as it were. It’s their job to ensure that the qualification is going to net you the skills and knowledge you need to perform the role of an exercise to music instructor.

Exercise to music instructor performing a side kick

Finding an exercise to music training provider

Hopefully, you now have a solid understanding of what qualifications actually are and why they are so important. Now we’re going to take a look at the organisations who are going to help you become an exercise music instructor, training providers.

When it comes to choosing the right training provider there can be a lot of things to consider, especially as there are now more providers than ever before. One of the reasons for this is sheer demand, both from those looking to qualify as an ETM instructor and those wanting to take part in group exercise classes.

A recent industry-wide survey in the UK found that over half a million people have taken part in an aerobics class within the last four weeks. Despite the popularity of branded programmes such as Zumba (600,000 people) and LES MILLS’ BODYPUMP (400,000 people), it just goes to show the massive appetite people still have for unbranded programmes.

While it’s impossible to objectively single out the ‘best’ training provider in the fitness industry, you will come across those that are better suited to your career goals, budget and learning style as a student. It’s these factors that you should ultimately drive your decision when choosing who’s going to help you become an exercise to music instructor.

Students taking part in a step exercise to music class

Here are a few points for you to consider:

Course costs – This is your hard-earned money, so what are you actually getting in return for it? Some providers may ask you to pay extra for accessing tutor support, learning materials (such as manuals) or certificates, while others will include everything in the up-front price.

Third-party reviews – When it comes to their education, who wouldn’t want a five-star experience? If a training provider claims they have a 99% satisfaction rate or their students always rate them five stars, can they back up this via third-party review sites like Trustpilot?

Learning model – How is the course delivered? Will you be studying full time during the week? Solely online? Or does the programme include elements of home-study and part-time practical attendance?

Recognition and endorsement – Is the exercise to music qualification accredited by an awarding body (YMCA Awards, Active IQ et al)? Does it have the endorsement and recognition from a professional body such as CIMSPA (Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity)?

Learning resources – What’s available that’s going to help you learn new skills and pass the course? Are there video lectures, choreography demos for you to practice with, quizzes and an online student portal?

Essential exercise to music qualifications

Regardless of where you plan to teach, whether that’s classes in an established studio or hiring out your own facilities, the Level 2 Exercise to Music Instructor course is the starting off point. The official title is Level 2 Certificate in Teaching Group Exercise to Music (Freestyle) and it’s a standalone course with no prerequisites. It’s preferable that you already have some experience with unbranded aerobics classes, whether in the studio or online, but you don’t require any other fitness qualifications.

HFE exercise to music instructor leading a group of students

Typically, the Level 2 Exercise to Music course can be completed in around six to eight weeks. There no hard and fast rules, every student will learn and develop at their own pace, so by no means think of eight weeks as an absolute, non-negotiable deadline.

With regards to content for this internationally-recognised qualification, here’s a brief overview of what you’ll encounter:

  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Planning exercise to music classes
  • Effective warm-up and cool-down techniques
  • Goal setting for clients
  • Body conditioning concepts and exercises
  • Delivering exercise to music classes
  • Muscular strength and endurance concepts and exercises

Further courses and qualifications

While unbranded aerobics classes continue to be incredibly popular, many instructors look to expand their repertoire (as well as client base and places they can teach) by undertaking additional training. A few of the more popular branded options include Clubbercise, The Jungle Body, pole fitness and of course, LES MILLS.

Exercise to music isn’t the only form of group exercise either. To truly reach that hallowed ‘in demand’ status, the Level 3 Diploma in Mat Pilates and Level 3 Diploma in Teaching Yoga are two further disciplines to consider.

Ultimately, your future success as an exercise to music instructor is entirely in your hands. If you only wanted to focus on teaching choreography you’ve designed yourself and building a brand around that, it’s something you can absolutely do. On the other hand, group exercise will be yours for the taking if you’ve upskilled and can deliver classes across multiple disciplines, styles and genres.

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