5 Steps for Figure Skaters
Let’s face it. There are many sports that require music to compete such as Figure Skating, Gymnastics, Dressage, and Synchronized Swimming (to name a few). We are going to use figure skating as our example in this article.
Choosing music is probably the most important part of the athletes’ season. Whether the skater is an international athlete or a beginner choosing his or her first piece, the choice is critical as not only does the music need to fit the skaters’ abilities, but also their personality.
There are several steps to the daunting task of finding that perfect program piece.
1. The most important and golden rule: Pick pieces that are skater appropriate.
Imagine a 6 year old skating to “The Gladiator” trying their hardest to do cross overs around the end into their waltz jump while this dramatic music is blaring throughout the rink. Ridiculous! IN MY PERSONAL OPINION? YES! This would not be showing off the young skater’s skills, it is drowning them out and making them look insignificant in comparison to the music.
It’s all about finding “THE” balance, that complementary piece that is going to highlight that skaters every move. Music that the skater can get into and really enjoy skating to as many younger skaters will skate to a piece for more than one season. World level skaters usually only keep the piece for one season.
2. Coaches play an important role when it comes to choosing music. Some coaches are very heavy-handed in this process, but ultimately it is the skater’s choice. If the coach wants a skater to skate to a certain piece of music, however, the skater just cannot relate to it, you needn’t be bothered to use that piece. Not only will this show through, but choreographing and practicing the program will become boring and something the skater will loathe. Skating is hard enough without the extra stress of skating to a program you just have no feeling for.
3. Always research pieces of music in the style that motivates the skater nice and early. Don’t leave it until the last minute before the program(s) need to be choreographed. Everyone will end up disappointed, not to mention stressed, rushed and ultimately unhappy!
When a skater hears a piece of music they like, have them write it down! Turn on the radio, use the internet, borrow cd’s and start listening. They will know when they hear the right piece. It will make them want to skate and it will inspire them.
4. DO NOT cut the coach out altogether, take the pieces that are short-listed back to him/her and discuss together what is right for the skater. The coach is better qualified to know what will best suit the style of skating in question.
5. Ultimately, once the Coach and skater have decided on what piece of music to use, the music needs to be edited to the correct length. This is completely dependent on the level of the skater. Most skaters now enlist a professional music editor, such as Ultimate Edges of Excellence LLC to have their music digitally mastered. Some coaches still prefer to cut the music themselves.
On a personal note, I personally work alongside many coaches, parents and athletes of several different sports that request several pieces of music, music ideas or style of music with what we call rough edits to send to the skater, who in turn picks a program or comes up with more ideas to be rough cut. This system is time efficient and works extremely well globally.
No matter how you do it, ultimately the skater and or athlete must be happy and feel something and enjoy themselves when skating to the music. Take as long as necessary, get it right, and it will be a happy and successful season!
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