Ready for some musical inspiration?

DANCE-silhouetteDance teachers, and studio owners, this post is for you.

Right at the peak of Regionals competition season, heading into recitals and possibly Nationals, there is much that needs to be worked on. Some of you are also getting ready for a new season of routines, which means new choreography, which means new music.

When you are ready to start working on the next season, and need musical inspiration, then look no further than a Squirrel Trench Audio custom remix. Every piece of music is worked on individually and uniquely for YOU and your dancer’s needs. There is no cookie-cutter process, and you will not hear your music used by another dance studio. For dancer teachers who love great music, we think the difference between a piece of music which is custom crafted just for you and your dancers is a difference that can be FELT throughout your process of working with your students. You KNOW that this music is YOURS and YOURS ONLY which is something you can feel great about.

We’ve created custom remixes for a number of dance studios throughout the country, including Beatles remixes, Michael Jackson remixes, Janet Jackson remixes, hip hop remixes, movie/Broadway soundtrack medleys, and many others. We’ve also done scary horror-movie themed remixes, and Dancing Through the Ages medleys. We can do recital opening/grand finale numbers such as this fun Wizard of Oz production.

If a Squirrel Trench custom remix is just the ticket to get your choreographic creative juices flowing (especially for your teen, junior and senior groups), then the process is easy. Just email me (morriss@squirreltrenchaudio.com) or give me a call at 413-535-0621 to discuss the ideas you want shaped into the music for your routine. Pricing varies depending on the complexity of the project, but is generally in the range of $89 to $129.

Call or email me when you are ready to get started!

Rhythm Dance Company lights up Worcester

Yesterday I had the treat of seeing four performances by Rhythm Dance Company in the DanceXplosion regional in Worcester, Massachusetts, that used Squirrel Trench Audio original remixes and edits. It was a great pleasure meeting studio owner and choreographer Nicole Newman Kelley in person after working with her via email for the past several months to get her routines’ music produced.

Today’s spectacular RDC group numbers included:

  • Valerie ’68 by Amy Winehouse (small group jazz)
  • Get On the Floor, an original hip hop remix featuring On The Dancefloor with will.i.am (large group hip hop)
  • Glamourous, a rockin medley which starts with a cover of Glamourous Life (large group jazz)
  • Rhythm Nation, an original remix of the Janet Jackson classic (Production Line)

Congratulations to RDC on spectacular performances for these songs and all of the others performed this weekend.

Rhythm Dance Company wins Platinums at StarQuest

Rhythm Dance Company logoMore congratulations are in order for Nicole Newman Kelley and the dancers of Rhythm Dance Company for high gold and platinum-winning performances at the StarQuest regional in Providence, Rhode Island three weeks ago. RDC uses Squirrel Trench Audio original remixes and edits for their group numbers (and a few solos) this season, and highlights from the StarQuest competition include:

Solos:

  • First Time Ever I Saw Your FaceSara Graham – Platinum, 2nd Place Lyrical Age 14 & 6th Overall Select Teen Solo
  • The GivingAllie Davis – High Gold

Groups:

  • Shake Your Tail FeatherPetite Large Group Jazz – Platinum, 1st Overall Classic Petite Large Group
  • Work Me DownJunior Small Group Jazz – Platinum, 2nd Overall Select Junior Small Group, Judges Special Award: Awesome Attack, Choreography Award
  • Valerie ’68Teen Small Group – Platinum
  • Cali LoveJunior Large Group Hip Hop – Gold, Costume Recognition
  • Girls in SpaceJunior Large Group Hip Hop – High Gold, 4th Overall Select Junior Large Group, Petite/Junior Odyssey Award for Entertainment
  • Glamorous LifeTeen Large Group – Platinum
  • Get On The FloorTeen Large Group Hip Hop – High Gold
  • Rhythm NationTeen Line Production – Platinum, 2nd Overall Select Teen Line, Costume Recognition, Choreography Award

Full results can be found here on the RDC site and here on the StarQuest site. Congratulations RDC dancers! Keep up the great work!

The Disclosures – Thank My Piggy Bank

Those who work with credit unions may have heard of the Madison-based musical duo of Christopher Morris and Chad Helminak, better known as The Disclosures. In addition to their busy touring schedule, they have also been recording some new songs for a forthcoming album.

It’s not too often that my primary job of EverythingCU.com intersects with my side project of music engineering, editing, and remixing, but when I heard that Chris and Chad were working on new songs, I jumped at the chance to mix their new album for them. They have been thrilled with the results.

Their first single, Thank My Piggy Bank was just released on YouTube, iTunes, Amazon, and CD Baby yesterday, in honor of National Financial Literacy month. Here is their fun video:

And you can purchase/download it from iTunes here. For more details on the duo and the song, their blog post is here. Enjoy!

Congratulations, dancers!

Congratulations to four New England Dance Center soloists, a duo, and a trio, using Squirrel Trench Audio remixed songs and choreo by Miss Lesley, for winning 1st overall in your category at Star Systems‘ Worcester Regional yesterday morning… and the duo and trio scored the PLATINUM prize as well.

Brianna Roland wins Starbound Senior Overall

Congratulations to Brianna Roland for earning Elite Gold in both of her solo performances at the Starbound regional competition in Springfield, Mass. yesterday. These fierce performances earned her both First and Second place in the overalls for her age category. Her jazz routine Lady Jackson features an original Squirrel Trench remix of Janet Jackson’s Nasty, and her lyrical routine features a Squirrel Trench edited song by OneRepublic.

Determine the tempo first

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!

Creative remixes for dance

Britney Spears beautiful new lookBesides 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.

What is possible in music editing for dance?

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.

That covers the basics. Happy dancing!

Looking for music inspiration?

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.