by Catherine L. Tully
I’ve been doing a lot of CD reviews on the site lately. That, feedback from my adult ballet class, and a discussion with a fellow dance professional have inspired me to share some of my thoughts about selecting music for ballet class with you here…
And–I’d also like to ask for your feedback…your thoughts and ideas about how to select good music for class. Feel free to leave a comment below.
When I first started teaching, I used pretty much anything for class. I figured it was all ballet music, so it was fine for classes, right? Wrong.
With more experience, and some input from my own teachers, I began to uncover the fact that there are many things to think about when it comes to selecting the right music for the class you are teaching. With that in mind, I’d like to share some of the things I have learned here with you today:
- Pay attention to the length of the tracks. Short tracks aren’t necessarily bad, but they probably won’t work as well for more advanced classes where you will want to do longer combinations.
- Select music that is appropriate for the level of the students. I believe that technique should come before musicality at the beginner level–for the sake of safety. This doesn’t mean you can’t let them experiment with “feeling the music”, but it can be a good idea to select music that has clear, defined beats and rhythm.
- Listen to samples of the music first. Many dance music websites these days offer samples of the tracks on CDs (or MP3s). Checking these out first can help you narrow the field.
- Read the reviews. Reviews of dance class music may be helpful in terms of getting input. If you can read several different reviews of the same CD (or MP3 tracks) it will give you an overall idea of what other teachers/dancers think, which might give you some insight as to what music would work best for you.
- Get feedback from your students. When you get new music for your dance class, be sure to check in with the students and ask them what they think. After all, it really is for them! While you don’t want to pick music just to please those in your class, taking their tastes into consideration can be a good idea.
There are many other factors to consider when selecting music for ballet class–and I”m hoping you are willing to share some of yours here today–along with any favorites you might have!