If someone asked you ‘how do dance teachers find music to choreograph to’ what would be your answer?
Personally, finding new music is one of my favourite things to do – particularly when it’s in preparation for a show and I’m putting together a whole soundtrack for a show – finding tracks that fit perfectly with the theme puts me on a high for weeks! (Oh, the things that please us!)
There are undoubtedly hundreds of different ways to search for music inspiration, and the following are just some of the ways we like to begin a delve down this rabbit hole.
But one thing is for sure, we live in a wonderfully rich world of music, and with the internet at our fingertips its easier now than its ever been to find inspiration. There really are some incredible pieces of music for choreography when you start to explore. Your imagination is your only limit…
Our current Top 6 music tracks for Dance Class or Improvisation Practice
- Viva la Vida (Instrumental) – DJ Redo
- Fairytale – Raujika
- You – Gold Panda
- Boulevarde of Broken Dreams – Lindsey Sterling (Green Day cover)
- Take Care – Rihanna & Drake (instrumental version)
- Hometown Glory – Vitamin String Quartet Performs Adele
Improvisation practice in dance is so important for children because it builds confidence, allows them to express themselves without filter, improves their musicality, and it can be a great source of inspiration for choreography – for both student and teacher.
TOP TIPS on Where to Start Looking for Music to Choreograph to…
- PAY ATTENTION to background tracks anywhere you go, from clothes shops to coffee bars – I’ve discovered many a unique track this way! (And use SHAZAM to capture them)
- SEARCH INSTRUMENTALS related to the style or theme you’re looking for. For example, I once put on purely a dance version of The Wiz and I purposely didn’t want to use all the original music with lyrics from the motion picture, so I spent a day googling and searching on iTunes and Youtube for music similar in style (70s Motown instrumentals, that had a little something special about them) and found some completely unique tracks which seamlessly fitted in to the overall theme.
- Use a THESAURUS. I know this one sounds strange! But when searching for music, and you think you’ve exhausted all the words associated with the theme or style you’re looking for, opening a new tab and popping one of your search words into an online thesaurus can spark new but related ideas of what to type in the search. For example, if you’re looking for a laid back funky tune, a quick word exploration might flag up words you hadn’t thought to use, like mellow, chilled, relaxed, slow groove, etc. Often just tweaking a word can open a whole new can of worms in your search.
- ORCHESTRAL VERSIONS – similar to instrumentals, of course, but with a more classical edge that can often prove more impactful. I found this when searching for the instrumental version of Hometown Glory. The orchestral version just seemed way more emotional and powerful as a piece. There are some true dramatic gems to be found. Think LXD’s performance to the orchestral version of Yellow by Coldplay, and breaking the musical tradition for certain dance styles.
- You can also find some beautiful alternative acoustic versions of popular songs on albums like Radio One LIVE LOUNGE and covers of songs by other artists who put their own unique spin on someone else’s track.
- MOVIE and TV SERIES soundtracks – an obvious one, but still often overlooked. Don’t just think the title track, think style of the overall theme. For example, when creating a dance piece about the early life of CHANEL the fashion designer, I found inspiration from the film ‘Amelie’ and used two or three of the pieces from the soundtrack because it captured the French feel and era I was looking for, but with a slightly modern twist.
- And if you’re feeling inspired to create your own music, hire an awesome MUSIC PRODUCER! Which is exactly what we did when creating the Groove Child® dance syllabus music. We knew in our heads exactly what we wanted for each piece, and sat with him for hours (along with endless cups of coffee) crafting each and every track to the style, theme, tempo, and length we wanted. It was a brilliant experience, but one that was also a big investment because we had so many tracks to create and wanted the syllabus music to incorporate a variety of styles. But in the case of finding the perfect track for an important event, working with a local music producer can be a great experience and well worth it.
- And for our final tip, lets not forget Spotify! We haven’t personally used them before, but know they have some great ‘dance studio playlists’. In fact, I might grab a cuppa and start exploring them myself right now…
Now we’d LOVE to hear from you! Where do you currently search new music for classes, comps, and shows? Tell us one place you always like to start, whether obvious or unusual, we’d love you to share this. Simply let us know in the comments below.
And finally, it would mean the world to us if you could SHARE this blog post, because it might benefit a fellow teacher struggling right now with music inspiration! x
The Groove Child® Dance Syllabus is designed to help dance teachers nurture children’s positive sense of self, confidence, and self expression through dance in a way that celebrates their individuality and boosts their performance. Dance School Owners & Freelance Dance Teachers – we’d love to meet you and introduce you further to the benefits Groove Child brings. Check our full details of the syllabus and our courses at the main website: www.groovechilddance.com