Tag Archives: timing

Three common problems and fixes when editing or mixing music

clean_music_by_fatihakgungorI love helping dance teachers and choreographers have the most outstanding, powerful, and impactful music possible. It’s an honor that so many dance teachers and studio owners entrust me to fix and clean the mixes they create. When DTs send me mixes, I hear three problems most often. They are relatively easily avoided. Here they are with their easy fixes:

  1. Problem — Timing hiccups
  2. Problem — Volume drops
  3. Problem — Poor audio quality

 

  1. Fix for Timing Hiccups — Determine the tempo of every song and align your work to the tempo grid. That means all cutting, moving, etc, is done precisely rather than via guesswork
  2. Fix for Volume Drops — I don’t really know why so many mixes I receive for repair have a small to significant reduction in volume compared to the original songs used. I have a feeling it’s because when the mix is “bounced down” the “Normalize” option remains turned on by default. When there are internal peaks in a song that is bounced down with the Normalize option turned on, this results in the ENTIRE mix getting a reduction in volume. Do not turn on Normalize! Instead, put a peak limiter on your output bus. If you don’t know what that means, don’t worry about it because having a short digital over is actually better than having your entire track reduced in volume.
  3. Fix for Poor Audio Quality — Use only original sources. Never import an mp3 into your audio program since an mp3 is a reduction in quality. Always save your mixes at at least 256k bit rate mp3, because to go less than that also results in an audible drop off in quality.

Hope these tips and fixes help you as you put together your edits and mixes! Please feel free to ask me any question about any of this since I truly love to help you have the best music you can possibly have for your amazing choreo!

Time to get your music ready for the 2012-2013 season

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.

Whenever you are ready to get your music edited, send an email!

Maximum length for dance competition songs and remixes

Occasionally someone arrives on this site by googling for something like “song length for dance competitions.”

While there is no definitive answer, I can give you some guidance. The most important thing you can do to determine the allowable length of your song is to check the competition rules for each competition you will be entering in for the season. Most competitions follow the same guidelines for maximum allowable length.

Many competitions state that solos can not be longer than 2:45 in length, while group numbers can be 3:00. Some competitions allow for even longer songs with larger groups. For example, Star Systems allows:

• 2:45 for a solo
• 3:00 for a duo or trio
• 3:30 for a small group (4-9 dancers)
• 4:00 for a large group (10-18 dancers)
• 4:30 for productions and lines (19 or more dancers)

However, not all competitions follow these guidelines. For some competitions, 3:00 may be the maximum, no matter what size the group, so be sure to check EACH of the competition rules that your studio is entering for the season.

For recitals, many times the maximum length is 2:00.

Bear in mind that these are maximums. It’s much better to make your routine shorter and tighter than to drag it on and on with no real purpose. Also, more important than the total length is the story arch that the dance and music follow.

Here are the things I keep in mind when trying to determine the right length for a music edit or remix:

For tap or acro, endurance can be a factor, especially for younger students. For younger tappers, 2:00-2:10 can be a good length. More experienced tappers who have built up endurance can be in the 2:20-2:45 range. And in general, younger dancers will want to be in 2:15-2:30 range, and older, more experienced dancers who have developed their style and moves, and want to tell a story with their dance should have music in the 2:45-3:00 range.

When do you prep your music?

If you aren’t already a fan of Squirrel Trench Audio on Facebook, feel free to “like” us. (We’re also on Twitter if you want to follow us there.)

We’ve just added a poll on our Facebook page, and would be thrilled to get your answer. Check out the poll, and submit your answer here: Dance teachers – when do you select and prep your music for the upcoming dance season?