It's that time of year! A new season and if you're a skating coach, a lot of looking for new music for your skaters! This can mean a substantial amount of time working away from the ice, trying to find just the right piece. This can sometimes be an extremely long, challenging and frustrating process. In this blog I'll share from my experience and give you some of my best hacks to help you shop for the right skating music. We'll discuss how to get started looking for music, where you can look and what you should be looking for. who should be involved, editing your music and the most common musical blunders people make along the way!
"Good music is good, no matter what kind of music it is"
- Miles Davis
How do I start looking for music?
I'm one of those people that if I'm out shopping and I see a fancy pair of I shoes that I really like but I don't need, I buy them! Inevitably, some event that requires fancy shoes will soon find me! It's a lot easier to shop from your closet then to have to go out searching. If you want to save yourself a lot of time, the first advice I'll give you is ALWAYS be shopping for music! I've created a "skating options" folder on both my iTunes and Youtube accounts. Any time I hear a piece of music that could be skatable by ANYONE, I save it to that folder. iTunes allows you to create folders within folders so within my "skating options" folder I also have a folder for every one of my active skaters. If I hear something that I think would work specifically well for a certain skater, I save it into my skating options playlist and then copy the song into their folder as well.
PRO TIP: Create a "Skating Options" playlist on iTunes and add to it all year.
Once you've created your playlist, start adding to it. Add anything and everything, there's no wrong choice. If it's something you think someone could ever skate to, it's in. Often times I may just be driving in the car, out somewhere or watching skating on TV and hear music I like that I don't recognize. I use an app called Shazam that can listen to and identify the song playing in just a few seconds. (We get into why you should never rip off someone else's music HERE) Shazam can give you a great jumping off point but next, I want to teach you how to "follow the trail." Anyone who's gone on a good Youtube binge knows what I'm talking about. Sometimes you'll start listening to one thing and 2 hours later you end up listening to something from a completely different place. I always look to see, Who is the artist? What else have they done? What other music is the search engine recommending? Maybe it was a movie soundtrack by a certain composer and that composer might have done more good work on another film. Follow the trail! I have found Youtube to be a great resource for music that may not be as mass produced. So now that you've begun forming a playlist of options. Now it's time to start focusing our search.
PRO TIP: Use Shazam App to identify music you don't recognize.
What kind of music should I be looking for for my skater?
A good question to start is to ask yourself, what is this program for and who is the audience? For the purpose of this blog we are going to focus on competitive programs.
If you need music for a competitive program start by considering the skater's level. You won't always be looking for music in the same places for a basic skills program as you would for a senior long. For introductory levels like pre-preliminary to juvenile freeskate and most short programs the longest the program will be is 2m50sec. Because of this time limit you can often get away with using just one song. This opens up a much wider variety of music to choose from.
As you start getting higher up in the levels the programs get longer. For longer programs you are generally going to be mixing 2-5 individual pieces that need to work together. This can limit some of your options and the places you can look to find usable music. Longer programs may require sources with a lot more music options to choose from. I'd suggest considering movie soundtracks, broadway shows, more traditional ballets and classical pieces or musicians with enough music to make a medley.
So now we've created a place to save our ideas, got some clues on where to start looking for music and learned some new tools to help us find options for our skaters. Next comes the fun part... We've done our shopping, now it's time to BUY! I'll take you through my process on how to go though your playlist and narrow down your options to find the perfect piece of music for you or your skater in my blog This Is Your Song: Picking the Perfect Skating Music.