Hey there dancers and welcome back to From the Top! Today we’re going to be talking about finding music to choreograph to. Finding the right music may seem easy compared to the process of making the choreography itself but that is honestly not the case. Before you can even put one step into motion, you first have to find the right soundtrack to put to your creation. However, sometimes, you can get completely stumped and have trouble finding a song that really stands out to you, especially if you’re choreographing a piece for a specific class or for a certain event. This is yet another form of “Choreographer’s Block”. Luckily, I’ve been there, I’ve done that, and I’ve found a few ways to help myself whenever I’m having a little trouble. So, today I will be sharing these same methods with you and help get you on the right track to finding the perfect song! Let’s jump right in!
Whenever I’m having a problem finding music, I always ask myself, “What kind of vibe am I going for in my next piece?” Determining what kind of vibe or feel that you’re going for is the first step in the right direction to finding the right song. So, think about whether you want to do a slow and easy contemporary number, an upbeat pop jazz funk routine or maybe even a hard-hitting hip hop routine. Don’t be afraid to be very specific with your vision. After you’ve determined what feel you’re going for, we can now move on to step #2!
Grab Your Favorite Music App!
Now, here comes the fun part! After you have figured out what kind of vibe you’re going for in your choreography, open your music app of choice and look through different playlists, such as the Top 10 chart listings in the genre that will contain music that will match your vision. If you are looking for music to go with your slow contemporary number, try looking in the “Indie/Alternative” category. If you’re looking for something current and upbeat, try looking in the “Top 10 Pop” category. Even go through the classic “Oldie but Goodies! After you’ve determined which category you will be searching from, we then go on to step #3!
Listen And Keep It Moving!
One of the elements of picking music that can be oh-so grueling is the time it takes to listen to a song to see if you want to use it or not! In my search for music, I used to listen to a full song first before moving on to the next song but Lord, did that take up a lot of my time. I then became determined to figure out a way to cut that time in half. So, what I started doing was going down the line of songs in the playlist that I had chosen, listening to each song from the first verse to the chorus, I may even jump to the bridge and by this time I come to the decision of whether I like it or not. If I hate it, I chuck it! If I like it, I’ll write it down and keep it as an option. This cuts the process of picking a song in half and you can choose a song quickly and move on to the main event: choreographing!
Don’t Stress And Overthink.
As a choreographer, having choreographer’s block is frustrating in any sense. No matter if you’re having trouble coming up with choreo or finding a song to put to it, it can be nerve wracking. However, if you do or have done all of the steps listed above and you find yourself still having trouble, don’t force it! Just put the phone down, walk away and try again tomorrow. The best cure to choreographer’s block is to take a step back for a day (or two) and just not think about it. Making choreography is not only a physical exercise but a mental exercise as well. So, when your mind gets “tired” just give it a nice rest. Your creative juices will be flowing in no time!
I hope these tips help you the next time you feel a bit stumped when finding music! Want an even better way to find some new songs to choreograph to? Follow From the Top on Instagram @fromthetopdb! We post music suggestions from our Spotify playlist that would make great dances, as well as inspiration from other choreographer’s pieces in our “Dance Spotlight of the Week” feature every Monday! So, come on over and check us out! We’d love to have you as a part of our dance family! See you there!