The task of music selection year after year can be a daunting one, especially for those of us teaching multiple classes. We aim to be creative, fresh, innovative and contemporary, but the truth is, many struggle to deliver original and age appropriate content that is both family friendly and not overdone. So, how do we attempt to include all of the above and still find something that inspires us as artists as well? The trick is to do your research ahead of time. Heading to ITunes or Spotify at the last minute right before you need to set a piece rarely works well, but actually listening to music you enjoy regularly and giving yourself time will allow you the opportunity to create a library of songs you can keep in storage for the perfect group as an when the need arises! Having an arsenal of ideas will always put you ahead of the game and make for infinite options vs. settling on something your creative spirit is not really in tune with. Here are 5 quick tips below to help you zero in on successful music selection season after season!

Be original: Think outside of the box and choose music never heard before. Keep it fresh. Chances are it’s all been done before, but that is no reason to copy or repeat something you’ve have heard a million times. Inside tip, if you think audiences haven’t seen it …they have. Avoid top 40 songs and break the mold!

Pick abstract and fresh music: This goes hand in hand with being original. There are infinite songs out in the world that have never been used or heard of before that a little research wouldn’t conjure up for you. Keep in mind from a competition perspective as well; if judges are sitting through 200 senior solos, what is going to make your student’s stand out? Choose music no one has tackled before. There is a whole world of music out there other than rotating the 10-20 trendy lyrical or contemporary songs repeated throughout the course of a competition season.

Be appropriate: To me, this is most important. As a studio owner and teacher, think about the maturity level of your students and the venue to which you are playing too.

  • Lyrics & Content: Please make sure your lyrics and content are age appropriate as well. Remembering that competitions and recitals are a family-friendly show, stick with entertaining and artistic concepts that reflect the capacity of your student’s understanding and refrain from subject matter that a young dancer has no business presenting, i.e. suicide, rape, sexual promiscuity or exploitation, drug use, etc. In accordance, please check your lyrics as well and ensure it is clean and edited for appropriate content.

Be Global: Branch out and think about all of the incredible world music that is out there. Introduce multiculturalism into song selection and showcase amazing new artists from other countries. What about African, Indian, Salsa, Reggae, Celtic, etc? There is a whole other world out there, so take advantage of new inspirations!

Good luck to everyone!

Happy Holidays!

See you in the dance studio,

Jessie