Here’s a tip that will make all of your music edits (or cuts) much, much easier.
I just got an emergency assignment to edit a popular remix/dubstep song down to the routine length of 2:30. The dance teacher just couldn’t make it happen. This is very understandable; there are a lot of echoes and the dynamic range is pretty compressed, making it difficult to make out the downbeat in the waveforms.
However, if you start your editing projects by determining the tempo, and then lining up the downbeats to the tempo grid, doing the edits becomes a piece of cake. I am almost embarrassed to say that by lining up the music to the tempo grid, I had about 8 seamless cuts done in about 15 minutes. Boom, done, because I determined the tempo was exactly 140 bpm before starting to make transition points.
Not every music edits goes that quickly. Freeform jazz, or any music done without a click track can be really tricky to edit seamlessly. But for modern dance music, figuring out the tempo first can make the difference between hours and hours of waveform alignment (and still not getting it right), and a perfect precision job that is done in minutes.
If you are tired of pulling your hair out trying to get your music cuts to be seamless, send me an email instead. Let me know the name of the song and the length that you need the finished piece to be, and I’ll make it happen for you for only $39!
Besides delivering structurally-sound remixes of single songs, perhaps my favorite music editing project is a creative custom remix. These come in many forms. I just finished a remix of four Britney Spears songs for a large competitive group at a studio in Georgia, and I’m about to begin on a “Dance Through The Ages” remix for a non-competitive studio in New Jersey. And if you are looking for a two-part cheer music edit, that is no problem as well. Other custom remixes I’ve finished include a Pixie Hollow theme, a Mary Poppins mash-up, a Wizard of Oz retelling, a train medley, an evocative drum journey, a Beatles remix inspired by the Cirque du Soleil masterpiece Love, and many more.
If you are looking for some fresh new ideas in music to give yourself a creative boost for your next choreographic masterpiece, then shoot me an email. Prices for these custom remixes depend on the complexity, but typically run between $74 and $149.
I realize that there are many people coming to this site who may not be aware of what can be done to music to get it into shape for a dance routine. So here are just a few of the things that can be changed or re-shaped in getting a song ready for choreography. If you have any questions about it, don’t hesitate to send me an email with your questions!
Edit the song for smoothness - Many amateur music editors will cut a song in a spot that doesn’t make sense for a smooth flow. We have an in-depth understanding of music structure that enables us to deliver a polished edit that flows best for choreography. Just let us know how long the routine will be, and we will deliver your song at that length. Email me for more info; pricing is $39 per song.
Speed up a song – Advances in digital music processing enable us to speed a song up (or slow a song down) by a little bit or a whole lot. Tempo is usually measured in Beats Per Minute (or BPM). Many dance songs have a tempo in the ballpark of 120-126 BPM. Faster songs that are danceable are 132-140 BPM, and there are other songs that work at 90-100 BPM. It’s all about the groove. Since most dancers don’t know the BPM of a song, it’s okay to tell us that you want a song sped up by 5% or slowed down by 10%.
Slow down a song – see above. Any music can be sped up or slowed down. We can even deliver several versions for you at different speeds, for rehearsal purposes.
Create a unique remix – Given the right parameters, we can come up with a unique remix of a song or combination of songs. This takes some collaboration, so if you are interested in something like this, this or this, then send me an email, and we can talk further on the phone or via email. Usually this process starts with a concept for the dance, and continues from there.
Make a song louder – Dancers often want their music to sound as loud as every other song that is being played on a sound system. If you are using a song from a movie soundtrack, or an older song from many years ago, and it’s not loud enough compared to other songs being used, send it my way and we’ll get it just right for you. Sometimes older songs could use more bass, and we can increase the bass as well. (more on Mastering for Loudness here).
Remove swear words or other objectionable lyrics – Many songs have a clean version available, but many do not. Some songs have objectionable lyrics throughout, and should not be used for family-oriented dance. Sometimes a song will be perfect, but have one or two objectionable words or phrases. I have successfully removed such words from many songs, even ones where it seemed impossible. I am proud to have helped one dance group improve their score because competition judges were deducting points because of the objectionable lyrics in a Christina Aguilera Burlesque song. I removed the offending lyrics that were repeated six times throughout the song, and the routine no longer received deductions due to the content of the music.
For you dance teachers and studio owners, it’s an exciting time of year. The kids are back in school, and the 2012-13 dance season is about to get underway in earnest.
Are you tired of trying to cut music, spending hours upon hours to try to get it right, only to wind up with clicks, jumps, skips, off-beats, and hiccups? We are here to help. For only $39 (less with quantity), we will deliver any song to you at the perfect length and structure for your dance routines. Not only are we masters of music editing and remixing, we also understand what is needed to make music work for dance. If this sounds like the relief you need, then send us an email with the song(s) you need, and the length you need them to be.
And if you have a group dance and are looking for inspiration in terms of fresh music, email us to learn about our custom remixes. We’ve done quite a variety over the years, and they are sure inspire your choreo to reach new heights.
Just got a link to a video from Kim Houli, dance studio owner of Dance for Joy in Brielle, NJ. This is a video of the opening recital production number for which I did the music remix last fall. It was truly a pleasure to make this music, and an honor to provide the foundation for what Kim says was their biggest recital opening hit to date.
Congratulations to all the dance studios that have recently performed in, or are about to perform in, their National dance competitions. Nationals are an intense time for dance students, their parents, dance teachers and studio owners.
And at many dance studios, the conclusion of Nationals is immediately followed by Summer dance camp, where new routines and new music are debuted.
Squirrel Trench Audio is thrilled to have edited music for quite a number of this season’s new routines already, and are eagerly looking forward to remixing more. Here’s one studio’s reaction to the new music and new routine debuted this morning:
Squirrel Trench Audio continues to do editing for vocal talent competitions. Our latest client comes from Arizona. The request was for three songs to be edited for a pageant vocal competition, and the rules are that the song can be no more than 2:00 minutes in length. We are proud to be able to produce each of these excellent song choices in the 2:00 format, in both a karaoke version with background vocals, as well as a reference vocal/guide version for our contestant to rehearse with. Here’s what the parent of the pageant competitor had to say:
“Thanks Morriss, these turned out fantastic. We will be recommending you to everyone we know.”
— Jeff V., parent of a competitive
pageant singer, Arizona
June 13, 2012
If you have a competition vocalist, and need your songs edited to competition length, Squirrel Trench Audio is here to make it happen for you. Just send me an email and let me know the song you’ve selected and the competition’s time requirements. I’ll supply you with both a karaoke version for competition, as well as a reference vocal/guide version for rehearsal, uploaded as high quality mp3s to a secure and private online folder for your downloading and playback convenience.
Recitals are wrapping up, or are done, and now on to Nationals for many competitive dance studios. That means now is the perfect time to finalize your song selections for the coming 2012-2013 dance season! When you have selected your song, and you need it edited, cut, or remixed to competition length, then email me, and I’ll make it happen for you. I can also speed your song up, slow it down, or raise its volume without distortion.
Here are a few songs to get your musical creative juices flowing:
Here it is, the end of May, and for most dance studios, that means that Regional competitions are over, and it’s Recital time! As the dance season winds down, and studios get ready for Nationals, Summer Intensives, and Summer camps, now is the perfect time to start getting your music ready for the 2012-2012 season.
If you select your music within the next 1-2 weeks, and send it to me for editing, you can be sure you have the best music ready for your new choreography well ahead of Summer Intensives. Don’t make the mistake that many dance teachers make…. which is to choreograph first, and edit the music afterwards. The problem with doing it in this sequence is that in many cases, editing the song’s intro leads to a better soundtrack for your dance routine, and that is not possible if that part of the song has already been choreographed. If you choreograph the first minute-and-a-half of the music, you are tying your editors hands in terms of flexibility to deliver the best edited/remixed music possible.
Now that it’s the middle of May, and many competitive dance studios have wrapped up their Regional competition season, it’s time to get ready for recitals and Nationals.
If your music is not all that it could be, it’s not too late to get it fixed in time for Nationals.
Is the music in your routine too soft? Too loud? Are there hiccups? Clicks? Pops? Are there swear words that you are getting point deductions for? Are there odd-beats? Double words? Is there not enough bass or low-end in the music?
Any of these common music editing problems can be fixed. Just email me a copy of the music as you are currently using it, and I will fix it. Most fixes can be done at the standard music editing rate of $39 per song. I will get the song repaired for you as quickly as possible to maximize the rehearsal time you have before recitals and Nationals.