Tag Archives: audio

Congrats to Boca Dance Studio 1st Place Overall!

Katie Westrich of Boca Dance Studio has taken 1st Overall at Ticket to Broadway competition, with a routine that features a custom Squirrel Trench-created soundtrack! This wedding-themed production routine is quite elaborate, featuring a large gazebo prop, dancers of all ages, and a variety of music and dance styles! Congrats to Katie and all of her dancers! Enjoy this fun routine!

Wizard of Oz Production mix

wizA few years ago, I created a custom, 6-minute Wizard of Oz mix for Kimberly Houli’s Dance for Joy studio in New Jersey. This mix includes munchkins, movie dialogue, sound effects, and more. She used it as a grand opening piece for her recital, and you can see a video of it below.

Because it’s been several years since this piece was originally created, Kimberly has agreed to let this soundtrack become available for purchase by other dance studios. Take a listen and see if this is right for your next Wizard of Oz recital or competition production!

Listen to and purchase this remix here on Legitmix:

Get more Squirrel Trench remixes at Legitmix

Congrats to Kaelyn Gray’s Code Name Vivaldi tap routine!

The GiantRenowned tap choreographer extraordinaire Kaelyn Gray recently had her Code Name Vivaldi tap routine win StarSystems’ 2016 Louisville Regional’s best routine in the 13 & over category.

After receiving the award, Kaelyn knew that, while it had a great soundtrack, it really needed a better ending. In order to deliver the ending she wanted (normally not possible, since this song, by The Piano Guys, fades out instead of ending strong), I employed virtual software instruments to re-create an entire orchestral string section consisting of violins, violas, cellos, and double-basses, along with a squadron of drummers on marching toms, a two-story tall upright piano installed in a Manhattan skyscraper, and a Concert Grand piano in an Austrian concert hall.

Here’s what Kaelyn had to say after she got the result back:

“Throwing a shout-out to THE Morriss Partee…..dang he is amazing at his job.

Yesterday I had a piece debut for the first time, a dark tap piece that I had never seen in costume (or even began the cleaning process for that matter) so I was a little worried it would blow up in my face…..Plus, I edited it myself and it was an original fade-out song which I really hate for tap, so I put a very lack-luster ending note on there that was just displaced and boring.

The kids ending up smashing it and it ended up the top scoring 13 and over routine of the weekend (Happy surprise!) I thought if it was going to be that good it definitely deserved a stronger ending…..so I messaged Morriss Partee and not even an hour later my email had a new edit ….. GUYS. Holy cwap. He literally manufactured the same instruments in the song, using 3 different grand pianos, an orchestra of violins……he went ahead an “polished” the entire track for me to make it sound sparkly and new again, since I had sped up the music tremendously to fit the speed of my taps. The new ending is perfection and intense!!!!

I love people who are passionate at what they do and share it! Thanks so much Morriss for being there for me and for delivering nothing but the best!!! GOOOO MORRISSSSSS!!!! ‪#‎kickballchangejazzhand‬ “

— Kaelyn Gray, tap choreographer
Expressions Dance Theatre, Crescent Springs KY
& founder Tap Dance Tutorials/#bringtaptothepeople
February 8, 2016

42nd Street, Minus Taps

42nd_logoHave you ever wanted to create a tap dance routine with the song from the original broadway soundtrack? Prior to today, this has not been possible, because the sounds of the original tap dancers are embedded in the audio of the song. But thanks to highly advanced audio processing software, along with skill and hard work, I am pleased to offer the Original Broadway Cast Recording of 42nd Street, MINUS TAPS. All embedded tap sounds have been removed as much as possible. Click to hear this choreography-ready version!

Get more Squirrel Trench remixes at Legitmix

When saving edits as mp3s, always choose 256k or higher

11882514-ear-and-sound-waves-Stock-Vector-hearingFor all of you fabulous choreographers who edit your own music: When saving your music as an mp3, NEVER save it at anything less than a 256k bit rate. Why is this important? Because when you save it at 128k or lower, you are telling your computer to throw away some of the detail in your music. You may not hear the difference on your laptop or iPad’s speakers, but when played on a good sound system (like in your studio, or at comp or recital), it won’t be as clear. And it just gets worse if you open up that same low-res file and re-edit it again.

Also worth noting: once you save an edit as a low-res mp3, re-saving it at a higher rate later does not fix it. Once you’ve saved it as a low-res file, then it will always be low res.

I know all the “export” or “save as…” options that are presented in most audio processing programs are greek if you don’t know the details or reasons behind the choices. Way too many of the music edit files I get for repair are saved as 128k mp3 files, and it makes me sad to know that dancers are not dancing with the cleanest version of their music possible, for no good reason other than the choreographer was not aware that saving at a 128k rate (or lower) degrades the audio noticeably.

Also, if you are not sure what the quality of an mp3 is, there’s a fairly easy way to tell, by checking the file’s size in Mb. A 2.5 to 3-minute edit saved as an mp3 or m4a should be roughly 5 to 6 Mb in size. If it’s only 2 to 3 Mb in size, then you know it’s low-res, and too much audio quality has been thrown away.

I can easily understand why this is such a problem. While you are working on the file, it sounds fine, because it hasn’t been saved to a low-res format yet. And when you save it as a low-res mp3, you can’t immediately HEAR that it doesn’t sound as good as what you have been working on. In other words, the quality gets reduced when you save it, but you don’t even know that that has happened. So I am very happy to help spread the word. Now you know!

Bottom line: When doing a “Save as” or “Export Audio” to an mp3 file, always choose the 256k rate or higher!

Removal of embedded tap sounds

(L to R) Richard Vida and Mark Ledbetter in “The Drowsy Chaperone,” a witty love letter to the madcap musicals of the 1920s with music and lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison and book by Bob Martin and Don McKellar. Directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw, “The Drowsy Chaperone” is presented in a limited engagement July 8 - 20, 2008 (opening on July 9), at the Center Theatre Group/Ahmanson Theatre (135 N. Grand Ave. in Los Angeles). For tickets and information, call (213) 628-2772 or go to www.CenterTheatreGroup.org. Photo by Joan Marcus Press contact: CTG Press (213) 972-7376

(L to R) Richard Vida and Mark Ledbetter in “The Drowsy Chaperone. Photo by Joan Marcus Press.

Did you pick out a song that has taps in it, but now you need them removed for competition or any other performance? You are in luck. Squirrel Trench Audio now has the capability to remove embedded tap sounds in music. Click to hear a before and after sample (with taps and with taps removed) from the Drowsy Chaperone. Click here to contact us about removing embedded tap sounds from your audio.

Update: Now available is the original Broadway Cast version of 42nd Street, with taps suppressed:

Get more Squirrel Trench remixes at Legitmix

Find the EXACT best tempo for your routine

tempo slomo screen568x568I’m sure you’ve noticed that there are some songs where your dancers are constantly being held back by the tempo of the song. When this happens it’s almost like there is an invisible force subtly sapping the energy out of the routine. Conversely, there are other songs where the dancers are always rushing to keep up with the beat. Adjusting the groove of the song, by even as little as 1% slower OR faster, can make a huge impact on how well your dancers perform with the music. Use the Tempo SlowMo app to dial in EXACTLY what the tempo should be for every routine you choreograph. Spin the jog wheel WHILE your dancers are performing to find the exact tempo that FEELS just right!

Tempo SlowMo is just one app that allows you to change the tempo of songs you are playing. Another one is BarreNotes.

Don’t forget to “print” a new copy of each song that you are using at the new tempo that you’ve dialed in.

Tips for recording Voice-Overs for dance routines

voice memo app iconMore and more folks are interested in recording voice-overs of various kinds for their dance routines. Since Squirrel Trench Audio works with dance teachers and choreographers all over the world, we usually can’t come to you in order to do the recording. This means you are on your own to record your own dancers’ voices, but it’s not too hard to do that, and send us the resulting audio files.

The good news: if you have an iPhone, it’s easy to record the voice-overs that you want. Just use the (free) Voice Memo app that is built-in. Here are the tips in a nutshell, with further explanation below:

  • Record in a living room or bedroom; never in a dance studio
  • Aim the bottom of the iPhone at your dancer(s), about 1.5 feet away
  • Record three takes of the words you want

Record in a living room or bedroom; never in a dance studio

One of the most important aspects to getting a good recording is the room in which you record, because sound bounces off of walls, floor and ceiling. This is called reverberation, which is a form of echo. Pretty much the worst space to do a recording is inside a dance studio rehearsal room. Ideally, you want to be in a living room or bedroom when recording a voice-over. The more drapes or other fabric there is in the room, the better. Carpeting is also very helpful. Using the Voice Memo app on your iPhone, situate yourself with the iPhone, and the person(s) that you are recording, in the middle of the room, away from all the walls.

The iPhone’s mic is in the bottom of the phone; aim it at your dancer(s), about 1.5 feet away

Hold the iPhone approximately 1 to 2 feet from the person(s) speaking (1.5 feet is probably ideal). Aim the mic (which is in the bottom) at the person talking. It should be close to them, but not TOO close.

Record three takes of the words you want 

Record at LEAST three “takes” of the words that you want to have. That way, I will be able to choose from the best of the resulting versions. Sometimes a word might get cut off, or the speaker trips over a word. If you have them repeat their lines three times, then I can put together the best version of the words.

Here are a few Squirrel Trench Audio custom dance mixes that feature Voice-Overs:

Get more Squirrel Trench remixes at Legitmix

Emergency by Icona Pop — Clean lyrics version

After the smashing appearance in the opening number to the recent Dancing With the Stars episode, Emergency by Icona Pop has been flying up the charts. Unfortunately, for dance teachers and choreographers, the only version currently available on iTunes is Explicit.

Squirrel Trench Audio now has a great-sounding version with clean lyrics, suitable for all ages and situations, including dance studios, competitions, recitals, and talent shows. The full-length version is $4.99.

Also available is a 2:15 length version:

We have also created a Spicy Clean remix with a 2:32 length:

For more great songs that have been cleaned of objectionable lyrics, Squirrel Trench Audio has a collection of full length clean songs here:

And in fact, Squirrel Trench Audio’s entire catalog on Legitmix is clean, so any remix or edited song you find there, that is created by Squirrel Trench Audio, is clean. Search the Squirrel Trench catalog on Legitmix here.

Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

Let It Snow Brian SetzerNormally, when you come across a short song when searching for music for your routines, you breathe a sigh of relief. You think to yourself, “Thank goodness, I don’t have to cut this one!” However, occasionally the song is TOO short. Into the void steps this extended (2:23), rockin’ fun version of Let It Snow! by the Brian Setzer Orchestra, perfect for a group tap routine. This song is simply begging to be used in a tap routine, and is great for any age dancers.

Get more Squirrel Trench remixes at Legitmix