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Thread: Should Skaters Chose Music For Themselves or For the Judges?

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    Size 7 Knife Boots Sam-Skwantch's Avatar
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    Should Skaters Chose Music For Themselves or For the Judges?

    I was at the rink the other day and struck up a conversation with one of my favorite local rising stars. As the topic turned to music and choosing pieces I made a suggestion that she should use a song from the Two Steps From Hell album Archangel. [url]http://youtu.be/dJ-QLl5qjLg[/url]

    I told her I could edit it however she liked and even tossed in the idea at the 1:25 mark mixing in Radinova's SP music Nero from the same album. Her reaction was "the judges don't know those songs and won't score me well". As a skater with high aspirations I understand how every decision she makes can effect her future in the sport. I certainly didnt push it and told her if she needs any music edited or tweaked to let me know.

    So that raises the question that now is bouncing around my brain and has left me pondering this. Are skaters choosing music for themselves or the judges? Does this explain why people revisit the same music time and time again. Is it the fear of judges that drives the decision making process which in the end stifles individuality and creativity? Thoughts?

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    Strike a balance. I don't think it should be too difficult to find music that a) you connect to b) the judges can connect to as well. If, for some strange reason, you can't do both, I say go with a) first. If you're not feeling your music, no one else will feel it either. Plus, you can't be sure what the judges will like, while you can be sure of your own preferences.

    But this is a debate that goes on in every single art form. Write/paint/act for yourself, or the audience? Are these things linked to each other, or opposed? I don't think we'll be able to solve the age-old question here in this thread.

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    Landing 3As in my dreams! skatedreamer's Avatar
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    ^^ This! Was about to type the same thing but Sandpiper beat me to it and said it better.

    Any performer should always consider his/her audience but if you don't love the music you're working with and feel it in your soul, the performance will be half-hearted and the audience will know it. Aside from that, there's the time it takes to refine and perfect a program -- you're going to be hearing that music for hours on end, day after day, so better choose something that speaks to you, right?

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    Custom Title gallavich's Avatar
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    There are plenty of mediocre skaters skating to warhorses and getting poor-to-mediocre scores. So I don't think "playing it safe" can help you if you can't deliver the goods. I think you can take musical risks and win competitons, but I would also expect a good choreographer to help steer the skater towards a program that suits that skater's personality and abilities. There might be some compromise involved, but I don't think a skater should ever have to skate to music they don't like.

    Even though everyone always goes on about how conservative the judges are, I can't imagine that they don't get as sick as we do of hearing the same thing over and over again.

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    P/B Appreciation Squad fleeting's Avatar
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    Of course, using warhorses can often be considered a crutch because judges do tend to favor those who use the tried and true, but I think if the skater loves the song and can sell it well, even if it's totally out of left field, it will show to the judges.

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    Aside from that, there's the time it takes to refine and perfect a program -- you're going to be hearing that music for hours on end, day after day, so better choose something that speaks to you, right?
    That's the best argument I've ever heard for "Skate to music you love." If you're skating to something you hate, it'll probably drive you insane before you even get to competition.

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    Judges have their own preferences, but they don't all have the same preferences. Some are classical music snobs, some might prefer to listen to jazz or rock or pop or showtunes -- and if they have a soft spot for the popular music of their own youth, the 70-year-old judges will have different preferences than the 30-year-old judges.

    There's no way to please all of them all the time.

    So, as others have said above, what's most important is that the skater him- or herself prefers it.

    I think the judges who care most about musical interpretation appreciate music that has some variety and nuance to it and performances that bring out as many of those nuances as possible. Music that is pleasant to listen to but basically bland and monotonous, doesn't give the skater much to work with.

    So a skater who wants to score well with the judges who care about music will choose music that allows them to show a lot of detail in how relate to the music.

    Other judges may not be very musical or musically knowledgeable and just want to hear easily accessible melodies and to see skaters phrasing their movements to the phrases of those tunes.

    Skaters who are still learning to interpret music would do best to use music with obvious phrasing that they can match in their skating. Skaters with more control of their skating and more awareness of musical subtleties can make the most of more sophisticated musical selections.

    I don't think it makes a lot of difference whether they choose orchestral music or synthesizers or electric guitars or pure percussion, etc., or whether the music is primarily lyrical or rhythmic -- as long as the music doesn't sound screechy or otherwise annoying over arena sound systems and the skater can actually skate to whatever s/he chooses. Just because a piece of music is enjoyable to listen to doesn't mean that it's well suited for skating, or for this particular skater with his or her current skill set.

    Also, now that vocals are allowed, I think it's important to choose selections where the singing won't distract from the skating. Which means you don't want the singing to be more interesting than the skating. An interesting vocal line that supports even more interesting movement taking place on the ice would be great.

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    Landing 3As in my dreams! skatedreamer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    Also, now that vocals are allowed, I think it's important to choose selections where the singing won't distract from the skating. Which means you don't want the singing to be more interesting than the skating. An interesting vocal line that supports even more interesting movement taking place on the ice would be great.
    This really belongs in the "Music People Should Be Skating To" thread but...

    gkelly's comment about vocal music made me think of Villa-Lobos' gorgeous and haunting Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5. The first few minutes are wordless and I think this would be an amazing piece for a woman who could really interpret it, maybe someone like Carolina Kostner -- too bad she's retiring!

    This interpretation by the Brasilian soprano Bidu Sayao, who sang at the Met in the '30s and '40s, is one of the finest ever. Hope you enjoy it.

    [url]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLZD0XplYrI[/url]

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    Custom Title Coltrocks12's Avatar
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    I too think a balance is in order. If you solely pick music to please the judges you run the risk of not being able to make it your own. I don't care how classic or iconic the selection is, if you don't relate to it and bring it to life, it is background music and it won't help your scores. At the same time if the music is too strange or doesn't have natural places for pauses, speed, drama etc. then it is hard to tell a clear story and it won't score as well. I think the skater should make a list of songs that the judges know and love and cross it with songs they can relate to and then chose from that list.

  10. #10
    Custom Title chapis's Avatar
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    At least with Mao, Tat and Lori gave some music selections and Mao decides what of those she likes. You know, they are young, just remember all the crap we all listened. I know it is not correct generalize, but all the music garbage out there, the most popular is there because young people listen it, so, I trust more in older people

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    If I had to summarize, I'd say skaters should choose music that can best show off how well they can skate to music.

    What music that would be would depend on what that skater can do and what they relate to.

    Judges enjoy variety and creativity too.

    But being weird or different just for the sake of being weird or different, without actually interpreting the music clearly, won't help any more than sticking to the same old-same old will.

  12. #12
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    Considering skaters are married to their music for a year (or more?) I hope that to some degree that the music choice is for them not only in terms of what works to their style but allows them to enjoy their program from the early days of choreographing to the final time they perform it in front of an audience. If the music choice is only for the judges, like others have said, there may be no connection with the music and may not score as highly as hoped.

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    Seriously? I think if I was a judge I would mark someone down for using trite and staid warhorses. With all the beautiful music out there why is it necessary for someone to resurrect Carmen or those wretched tangoes?

  14. #14
    Gotta Have Music iluvtodd's Avatar
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    I would say to the skater, "strike a balance!"

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    There is also a third dimension to this problem - to skate to what you are able to pull off. For example, the best piece for Leonova was the witch program she had done in the past, but if let's say Mao Asada skated to that, she may not make it look believable. On the other hand if Leonova even attempted to skate to Mao's programs, her second mark would also dive because she just can't do the soft balletic style. And I, as an adult skater with some more weight on me than elite skaters have, would never skate to classical music, because my figure and my (lack of) extension (and my lack of ballet training) would probably make a parody of it. So it is not only what you like and what judges like, but also as importantly, what your ability and your figure allow you to skate to.

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