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What Makes Good Music for Competitive Freeskating?

Discussion in 'The Trash Can' started by gkelly, Nov 17, 2011.

  1. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

    Let's focus on pairs and singles, where demanding tricks are a big part of the technical scoring.

    Maybe singles freeskating programs don't need to have exactly 7-8 jumping passes, exactly 3 spins, and either exactly 2 step sequences or exactly 1 step sequence and 1 spiral sequence.

    But they do need to have several jump passes including jumps that are risky, demanding of extreme concentration, and at the edge of the skater's skill level. They do need to have several different spins demonstrating advanced spinning skills. They do need to include steps and field moves such as spirals (in sequences and/or between elements). The skater who does the hardest stuff with the best execution is going to win the Technical Elements Scores.

    Ice coverage, edge quality, multidirectional skating, balance, carriage and extension are all qualities that are fundamental to good skating technique and will always be rewarded in several areas of the scoring, especially the Skating Skills component.

    Music choice and choreography to that music will play a much larger role in determining the Program Components Scores, specifically Choreography and Interpretation. But the music still has to help the skater execute the technical elements, not get in the way. It has to allow judges and tech panels to concentrate on the fine details of technical content and execution, not distract them.

    It's also good if the music gets the audience excited, but that can't be the only thing it does. Exciting music doesn't do much if the skater is ignoring it or stumbling around the ice because the music gets in the way of the skating rhythms they need to execute their technical content.

    So what are some qualities of music that help skaters to skate with good technique? That help them to execute difficult jumps? That help them show off power and glide in their basic skating?

    For skaters who are secure in those basics and ready to start challenging themselves more artistically, what are some qualities of music that inspire interesting and innovative uses of the body and of the blades moving across the ice?

    On the other hand, what kinds of music are great to listen to on your sound system at home or in the car or at a concert or dance club, but not so good for performing the kinds of moves that make up a singles or pairs competition program.

    Don't worry about judges' or audiences' ages or prejudices. Assume for the sake of argument that they're all as broadminded as possible and want to see variety and skaters challenging themselves out there.

    So what music works well for skating and what gets in the way of the skater executing or the audience or judges appreciating?

    If you skate competitively at any level, or have in the past, or work with skaters who do, what considerations did you apply in choosing your program music? What would you like to skate to if you had elite-level skating skills?
  2. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

    I'll also ask another question:

    Do you choreograph skating programs in your head when you listen to music?

    What kind of music inspires you to envision someone skating to it? What kinds of moves do you envision them doing? What kinds of moves might get left out if they had to be inspired by that music?
  3. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Hates both vegemite and peanut butter

    Having skated and played music, I find that I need to love and feel my music before using it for a program. I have never had a coach pick music for me and have always been really definate in my ideas. And I have also used coaches on the basis that they will bring the best out in my music too. I loved working with a coach earlier this year who from the moment I met him found he had exactly the same musical sensibilities that I had and could then do a program to bring out the best in me. It was such a pleasure working with him and the process was much more fun that actually doing it in competition.

    I have also been very conscious about picking music that has never been used before and it has to reflect my personality. I am not a classical person but I can definately get away with something sassy, blueys and fun.

    Generally some comments that I feel are important when it comes to music, more from a judging point of view.

    It must have highs, lows and tempo changes and not just stay on the one level. There is something to be said for the fast-slow-fast construction of music for a program. However I also like a program of two halves, where the first part is slower and languid and then the fast part really brings it home.

    It must lend itself to choreography and give a skater an opportunity to create pictures. Unless the skater really understands what they are listening for in a program, then the nuances have to be very obvious eg a cymbal crash or definate stop in the music, so the skater hear it clearly and do something to it.

    The music cuts must work. Nothing worse than a piece of music which makes no sense because the cuts are so disjointed or just don't match.

    Don't use Bolero or similar pieces where someone has done the definitive version. Seriously why would you use a piece of music that has probably had the ultimate performance? All it is going to do is draw unfair comparisons to yourself.

    The main thing about music is that connection has to come from the heart. A coach or choreographer can give a skater all the choreography in the world for a program, but unless the skater really relates to it and feels it, then they will never truly be able to express it.
    gkelly and (deleted member) like this.
  4. skateboy

    skateboy Well-Known Member


  5. briancoogaert

    briancoogaert Well-Known Member

    I need a tempo that can be easily heard.
  6. modern_muslimah

    modern_muslimah Thinking of witty user title and coming up blank

    Yes. I do it a lot when listening to my iPod.

    Honestly, music that is different from the norm and music that I think would be extremely difficult and challenging for someone to skate to. It's usually classical or jazz that does this though.

    When I listen to hip-hop or R&B, I usually don't imagine figure skating programs going along with them because I just can't see hip-hop and most R&B working for skating. The tempos tends to be constant and there usually aren't enough highs and lows to make those two genres of music good for skating. Additionally, a lot of hip-hop music has really fast tempos that would probably cause issues for competitive programs. Plus, I just think most skaters could not do justice to those two genres, even in an exhibition program.
    gkelly and (deleted member) like this.