Tag Archives: music

Making choreographers happy

When you need perfect music for a new routine, Squirrel Trench Audio’s catalog of more than 750 ready-to-go clean edits and mixes is an amazing resource. Here’s what Maggy had to say about it:

“A huge thank you to Squirrel Trench Audio for their fast and professional service. You have saved me many hours of editing. So many amazing cuts and songs to choose from! This site is a dance teacher/choreographers dream come true!”

—Maggy Elias Sonoski, September 3, 2017

The catalog is even searchable by dance style. Check out the catalog and find the perfect music for your next routine!

Music for a new dance season

Back to school time means it’s time for a brand new season of dance! One of the most exciting times of year for dancers is to find out what their new routines are all about. And in order to have a great new routine, you have to have great new music.

To transform the process of creating new music from a chore into a joy, we have more than 750 clean song edits and mixes that are instantly ready to be choreographed. Every song and mix is lovingly crafted to be the best possible foundation for your choreography. View the Squirrel Trench catalog of clean music and mixes here.

Here’s what a dance teacher had to say about the service today:

“Thank you so much! I’m going to continue browsing your mixes- you’re SO much more affordable than other sites and save me all of the time in editing. What you’re doing is great- thanks again.”

— Heather Closson, Dance Instructor
Ratio Dance, Auburn IN, August 28, 2017

Helping Ashley at Ohana

I love getting feedback from dance studio owners and choreographers. Especially when they find that my catalog of cleaned and edited songs and mixes transforms the music selection task from a headache and chore into an easy and exciting process of finding music that is perfect for their choreographic vision. Here’s the latest from Ashley Kohl, Creative Director for the Ohana School of Performing Arts in South Hadley, Massachusetts:

“You totally ROCK!!!! Wow, thanks so much Morriss! I’ll be in touch with more … this resource is a serious lifesaver. I have shared it with all of my instructors. I am so much more excited to pick music than I have ever been. It’s usually so daunting and stressful. Game changer!

Thank you for being so generous and helpful!”

—Ashley Kohl, Creative Director
Ohana School of Performing Arts, July 22, 2017

If you’d like to check out the listing of more than 700 clean songs and mixes, just click this link: Squirrel Trench Audio catalog. Find out how easy picking perfect music for your choreography can be!

Tap choreographers: It’s Time for Tea

If you choreograph tap or jazz, I have come across the most amazing song for a routine. And it’s pretty far off the beaten path, not a song I’ve ever heard at a competition. I will deliver a squeaky clean version, perfectly edited for a 2:39 routine​. As one dance teacher exclaimed today “This is FABULOUS!”

Listen to the preview here:
Time for Tea (Squirrel Trench Clean 2:39)

If you’d like to get this version, just email me at morriss@squirreltrenchaudio.com!

Ultra clean Run the World (Girls)

Recently, a dance teacher contacted me in an emergency situation. She needed an ultra clean version of Run the World (Girls) for a fellow teacher’s routine. Her response to the result:

“Wow! Thank you so so much! I cannot express how grateful I am that I don’t have to tell 15 parents their girls aren’t performing tonight. I’ll certainly use your services in the future!”

—Brianna Hafen
America’s Kids in Motion

Two ways in which poor music editing can lead to students who quit dance

Recently, there was a great conversation about the value of music editing as it pertains to dance studios in the Facebook group Dance Teacher Network. As I’ve outlined previously, there is much more to quality music editing for choreography than simply making a cut and calling it a day. Good music editing for choreography takes into account song structure as well as employs a variety of audio engineering techniques when needed. But there are two specific cases where poor music editing can completely frustrate a dancer, and in extreme cases, may even lead a student to quit dance entirely!

There are two kinds of poorly executed music edits that can lead dancers to quit: Awkward fade-outs and too much repetition

The first kind of poor music edit is one that robs the dancer of the applause that he or she so very much deserves after performing a routine. This poor choice is when a dance group or soloist’s song is simply faded out without any thought as to how the music should flow from start to finish. These type of fade-outs usually have the performer(s) dancing off the stage at an awkward point in the song; at a point where the audience isn’t expecting the routine to end because the music does not sound like it’s supposed to end. So the dancer is all the way off stage before the audience realizes that the routine is over, and there is a hesitation before they start to applaud. AND, the dancer is now not on the stage to properly feel, and fully receive, the audience’s applause. In extreme cases, this leaves a young, fledgling dancer who is timid, or a little bit uncertain of their dancing abilities, feeling like the audience may not have really appreciated their routine after all. Instead, always put a button on the music to ensure the dancer(s) receive the applause they deserve while on stage!

The second, and even more direct route where a bad music edit can lead to a dancer quitting entirely is when there is too much repeating left in the music edit for a young soloist. This can happen no matter whether it’s a competition solo or a recital solo. When too much repetition is left in the music, it is extremely easy for a dancer to lose track of where they are in the song and thus where they are in the choreography. When the music repeats over and over (especially choruses that repeat and verses that repeat), the dancer doesn’t have the “help” of the music or lyrics to serve as auditory cues as to where they are in their choreo and what comes next.

Properly edited music for dance has all possible repetition removed. This is an aspect that the vast majority of DIY music editors (and even many audio professionals who have not studied the intersection of dance and music) fail to realize. Music with too much repetition retained leads to students who more easily lose track of where exactly they are in their choreo, an especially big problem in solos where you can’t cue off of another dancer. In these cases, the person creating the music edit doesn’t even realize that the repetition in the music is a big contributor to the problem. And if a student doesn’t not have the “help” of the music to help them remember their choreo, then that leads to frustration, which can lead to quitting dance entirely.

I’m sure you have viewed hundreds and hundreds of solo routines in competition as I have, and therefore you know that at a large comp, there will ALWAYS be at least one young soloist who runs off the stage sobbing because they forgot their choreo under the bright lights of the stage. I have come to the conclusion that poorly edited music containing too much repetition is a major contributing factor to these breakdowns.

Of course, sometimes a dancer who forgets their choreo returns later to the stage and performs triumphantly, but some of these dancers decide to quit dance forever right then and there. Why risk it? Why lose young dancers forever due to poorly thought-out music edits? Sure, there are sometimes when a student forgets their choreo, even with perfectly edited music. But no one wants their students to experience these kind of choreo-forgetting melt-downs.

You, as choreographer and teacher, pour your heart and soul into your choreo, into teaching your students, and cleaning their routines. You spend hours picking out the perfect costume to match your choreo. You deserve to have perfect, optimized music to match the effort you put into every other aspect of the dance, and you deserve to have music that actively helps your dancers remember their choreo instead of being a stumbling block.

This is why Squirrel Trench Audio music is created with the UTMOST care and precision — with song structure analysis to eliminate all possible repetition, ensuring that each music edit is a complete soundtrack, start to finish, that is ideal for choreography. Squirrel Trench Audio even has more than 1,000 clean song edits and remixes available in our archives. Check the listing for the songs that you want and email me or use this form to send me your music requests or for more information.

Oh.My.Gosh by The Bunnies from Sing

OH.MY.GOSH is a fun hip hop song from the original motion picture soundtrack of the movie Sing. Oh.my.gosh is perfect for younger kids doing a hip hop routine, except that singing “butt” over and over and over again my not be appropriate for some audiences. Squirrel Trench Audio to the rescue, with a perfect and squeaky clean version of the song, where ALL instances of “butt” have been removed! The routine length is 2:10. Send me an email if you are interested in this squeaky clean version!

Welcome Dance Studio Life readers

I am pleased to welcome readers of Rhee Gold’s fabulous magazine Dance Studio Life. If you opened up to the inside back page (the Dance bag) section, you may have seen Squirrel Trench’s very first print ad, reproduced here.

Welcome and thank you for taking the time to find this web site! Squirrel Trench Audio has been serving dance studios in North America and worldwide since 2011. (more background here.) We create lyrically cleaned-edits and edits crafted specifically for choreography, of your favorite songs, as well as custom mixes for dance studios, pom teams, gymnasts, figure skaters, fitness competitors, pole athletes, and vocal competitors.

We have an archive of more than 1,000 song edits and remixes, of which 400 are listed here: Squirrel Trench Archives.

We also take custom edit and mix requests; however, due to popularity, we currently have a large backlog of music work. Requests from the archives are fulfilled immediately however. For more information, please email me: morriss@squirreltrenchaudio.com.

 

Edited songs for your dance recital

It’s that time of year again; time to select music for your dance studio’s recital. The good news is that Squirrel Trench is here to save you the time and frustration of aligning waveforms. Instead, browse the Squirrel Trench Audio archives of clean edits and remixes. Every edit and remix is created with recording-studio standards of quality, optimized for choreography. The archive now shows about 400 out of a total of more than 1,000. Special consideration if you’re interested in more than one song:
Squirrel Trench Audio archives

Installation of acoustic foam can lead to death

This type of foam can turn deadly in the event of fire.

I was reminded today of a very somber and deadly episode of club music history. The fire at The Station nightclub in West Warwick, Rhode Island on February 20th, 2003, killed 100 people. While certainly the lack of a sprinkler system contributed to these deaths, equally contributory, or perhaps even more so, was the MISTAKEN NOTION THAT ACOUSTIC FOAM IS A SOUNDPROOFING MATERIAL.

FOAM IS NOT A SOUNDPROOFING MATERIAL.

It does not prevent sound from transmitting. Not even a little bit.

In a misguided attempt to soundproof the club so that the high volume of music inside would not reach the neighbors, the owners of The Station installed a polyurethane substance that they thought was acoustic foam. (A kind of black foam that is commonly referred to as egg-crate style.) Not only does this type of foam NOT even do ANYTHING to reduce sound, it is flammable, and also emits thick, toxic smoke when set on fire. Polyurethane foam is a packing material, not a soundproofing material.

As someone who has studied and done research on materials that affect acoustics, it angers me that most reporting of the incident describe the polyurethane foam on the walls as a “soundproofing material”. This type of material does NOT function as soundproofing.

That night at The Station nightclub, outdoor pyrotechnics were used indoors, and the sparks emitted ignited the polyurethane foam on the walls near the band. If the foam had not been placed on the wall, there is a chance that the structure might not have caught fire. But with the flammable foam on the walls, not only did it ignite, it filled the entire space with deadly, blinding, and asphyxiating smoke in LESS THAN TWO MINUTES. Here is the Fire Safety Institute’s re-creation of what happened that night. Notice that visibility is near-zero at only 1:30 (90 seconds) after ignition:

With only two exits and black smoke filling the venue rapidly, many people were unable to escape and perished. If the polyurethane foam had not been placed on the walls of the nightclub, there may not have been any fatalities as the space might not have filled with smoke so rapidly. A working sprinkler system would have also delayed the onset of the debilitating smoke.

NEVER USE FOAM to try to sound proof or absorb sound. Period.

Rock wool is a completely inert material

In contrast to “acoustic” foam, rock wool (also known as mineral wool) is naturally inert. (Fiberglass insulation is also naturally inert). Rock wool can withstand a blow torch for more than three minutes and will not ignite. Rock wool is found in the U.S. under the trade name Roxul. Watch this video for proof that a blow torch applied directly for three minutes will not ignite Roxul, and after that much heat is directly applied, the wood behind it is barely warm:

Elsewhere on this web site, I explain how you can make 2′ x 4′ broadband acoustic absorbers using Roxul, fabric and furring strips. For even better flame retardation when making Roxul sound absorbers, use flame retardant fabrics.

Use inert Roxul for sound absorption. 

Never use foam. If you want to reduce echoes and sound ambience in a space such as dance studio, recording studio, or music club, use Roxul as the primary material. Also make sure that a sprinkler system is in place and working.

It is tragic, but there have been several similar fires in music clubs in other parts of the world and the U.S. since The Station tragedy. For all readers of this article, please take heed and use the proper materials to ensure the safety of the people who use your building and spaces. Never, ever put “acoustic” foam on the walls, ceiling or floor of an interior space. Only use rock wool (or fiberglass) insulation.

If you currently have acoustic foam or fabric in your interior space, I urge you to remove it as soon as humanly possible. It is a dangerous fire hazard that could result in loss of life in the event of a fire. If you want to absorb sound, use absorbers made of rock wool. They are relatively easy to build and inexpensive to boot.