Nov 19, 2013

I hate my music!

My daughter's father is a musician. You can't imagine how this simplified music choices-- her coaches pretty much trusted us to come up with great unusual music and she mostly skated to things she liked.

Ice show programs were often dogs, unfortunately-- she skated to music that I wouldn't blast at terrorists to get them to give up the hostages.

In which case you just go out and skate your heart out for the applause, because the music is setting everyone's teeth on edge.

There is no standard about who chooses music; sometimes the coach is dictatorial about it , sometimes it's the student, sometimes collaborative. It is not worth fighting over. Coaches will often recycle music-- their own or their students. At the very least, this saves an editing fee-- when I still did competitions with my students, I would charge them $50 to prepare their own music, or let them use something from my library for free. Students were not allowed to edit their own music, because they almost universally did a terrible job. Not everyone's dad is a musician, but unfortunately everyone's dad, or 13-year-old brother (not kidding), has access to Garage Band.

Even if you're using "someone else's music" remember that IJS rules change more often than the weather; your choreography will be your own. Even if you hate your music, remember that program length changes at each level, so you'll have a chance to change it within a year, two at the most.

Coaches will know things about music that you won't-- cuts that allow for proper emphasis on elements within the choreography-- a jump at a dramatic cadence, step sequence that matches the mood, etc. Points are awarded, and deducted, for this. The coach might know that judges reward certain types or even certain cuts of specific music. They will sometimes use music to cue the judges "this is a Brian Boitano-like skater." "I want you to think of Jason Brown when you see this skater." "This skater is new and unique."

To you, it's "I don't like this music." To the coach, it's all part of the drive to assemble the point total.

Coaches do not choose music to be mean, or to make your skater look bad, or to pick fights. They choose the music that they feel will show off your skater's skill in the best light.

Have you had music that you hated? How did you resolve the situation?


  1. My son's coach always allows him to choose music and we have had some fine ones. He is still ISI and will be skating to a Pokemon battle scene remix this time around. In his earliest competition he skating to the horrible goat song from Hoodwinked. He started to be known as the kid with the funny music. This latest Pokemon theme is the first without lyrics so he is moving up.

    The pairs situation is a nightmare however, because the two kid have totally different tastes as do their moms. I found myself spending hours sending ideas back and forth between myself and the other mother only to have each idea that my son like vetoed by the girl and every idea she like vetoed by my son. I finally told the coach to please work with them and give the parents relief. They choose the overused Pink Panther. Ugh!

    This latest music choice was fun because I suggested a classical piece redone by the band Erasure from the 80s. My son loved it and before his partner could veto it (which she would have because she vetoes everything) the coach decided to use it. Turns out the coach had once brought this same piece (not the Erasure version) to her own coach when she was a teen as was told no. When she heard the piece she overrode all vetoes and decided to use it.

    This weekend's music for ISI pairs 2- In the Hall of the Mountain King arranged by Erasure

  2. We just went with it, and then before new music was talked about we brought music to our coach and asked to to pick one. Ever since, we email links to all the music my daughter is considering and letting her coach have final say. Her best skates have been to music my daughter has LOVED. The only thing I have thrown in the mix is having each program be a different style. It makes the initial search harder. ~Meg

  3. Some coaches are very lazy about music and reuse the same old pieces from skater to skater. I hate seeing that.

    For myself, I generally give my coach a CD of things I'd like to skate to and let him make the final decision. If he didn't like any of them (we may be at that point for my new FS) then we'll talk more about what we need to do and try again.

  4. Sometimes it's lazy, sometimes it's "burned out." A coach with a lot of students competing might do this as one less thing to think about. Is it lazier to use well-cut music that you already have, or to let every student you've got skate to whatever Gracie Gold is skating to? (Or worse, the latest pop hit.)

  5. My girls' coach has ideas but is always extremely open to our ideas as well. Sometimes we use hers, and sometimes it's our idea. Only once she suggested something to which my daughter said "absolutely not", but usually the coach has a pretty good feeling about what my girls might like.

    In general, my oldest can always pick something from a few different ideas, and my youngest has a very strong opinion about what she wants to skate to (she was like this since age 3, now 5). Both of them often have strong opinions about what particular words should make it to the final cut. E.g. about a song from Tangled, my youngest told us to make sure that the words "I brush and brush my hair" are in, since long hair is the most important thing about Rapunzel!

    Maria, mom of 2 skaters: pre-pre and Freeskate 5

  6. I don't think reusing music is burnout or lazy. Some music just works really well. At the lower levels, some kids do a program twice and move up a level and get a new one with new music quickly. When you have 90+8 seconds to perform a routine, you get war horses.

    I think if there is an issue with music, the skater (and parent if it's a little kid) should just talk to the coach. I think that most would be receptive to ideas or to educating the skater (and parents) about why something works better than the most recent pop hit.

    Because skating costs an arm and a leg (and the occasional kidney), have made music a big part of my skater's skate education. She listens to Classics for Kids on her ipod (a radio show you can put on your ipod) weekly, I print out their info sheets and she takes the quizzes. This gives her historical information, artistic information and makes her more knowledgeable about skating. And it's free.

    It is fun to watch skating and have her say "oh that is____." No problems here with music that shows up in skating on a regular basis.

    There just has to be a conversation if you want something different from the coach. ~Meg

  7. I had a hard time picking my music this time but finally settled on something that I like. My husband has been a sound engineer so I have the perfect in-house person to help!

  8. What do you do if you don't like the way the coach edited the music he agreed to after you vetoed his suggestion?

    1. First, review in your mind whether he really "agreed" and second, just move on. Unless he's forcing Satan-worship on you it just doesn't seem like something to fight about. Also, as I noted above, there's more to music edited for skating than just the parts of the music that you like-- it's possible that the disputed edit was necessary for the flow of the program, or it's possible that you're just not paying him enough for the degree of finetuning that you think you need.

    2. Now that I've heard it a few more times, I actually like the edit. There are elements in her program that flow well with it and it suits her personality too. So, I guess the lesson learned is to give it some time and it will all come together. I had to laugh about your comment about whether he actually "agreed" though. I thought the same thing at first. Glad I was wrong! It will be fun to watch her program evolve over the next 6 months as she learns new skills and they are added to her program.