Competition Music- where to find it and how to choose it

Updated: Sep 7, 2018

Music Searches & Song Choices

Here’s one for our dance teachers and budding choreographers out there; Are you getting ready for competition season? Are you feeling inspired for new solos, duets, groups? Have you found a new theme or costume you just can’t wait to use? Well what’s next? Ah yes... the all-important ‘make or break’ entity... MUSIC. You are now faced with the impossible task of finding music that you like, your dancers like AND hasn’t been heard 6 times in one competition. How do you do that? Here are Dance Comp Diaries top tips on finding your way around the world of music.

Music Selection - Where can i find great music that isnt on the radio.

Apple Music

While Apple Music has a wide selection of Music, it is predominantly generated by the “Top 100 Charts” type of music. However, if you venture into Apple’s “Beats 1 Radio”, up and coming labels have radio time hear that can help you find fresh beats and inspiration. You can also save any music to ‘offline listening’ so that you can review your selections without using up data or needing wifi.


As you may already know, anyone can have a free Spotify account HOWEVER you may find the free version comes with a few annoying traits. Firstly, there will be interruptions to your listening by ad breaks (approximately every 6 songs). Secondly, you are forced to listening to new artists on shuffle only. You can ‘skip’, but only up to 6 songs per session. This can be a nuisance when you have finally found ‘that’ album you need to search through, therefore paying for Premium membership may benefit you. And there are many benefits of the Premium account that those of you that have it may not be making the most of; Spotify offer you curated ‘discover’ playlists of suggested music for you, the automated ‘radio’ setting will continue playing songs after your saved playlists end that Spotify thinks fit with the mix of music you have in there already, and you can save your playlists to ‘offline listening’.


The biggest selling point of SoundCloud, especially for dancers, is its diverse range of music. Anybody with a subscription can post their own content, which allows for a lot of experimental and varied genres. SoundCloud’s exclusive “repost” feature and its “Discover” capabilities make it stand out among other music platforms.

Unlike Spotify’s “Discover” feature, SoundCloud takes into consideration tempo and rhythm as well as genre, which can help you find almost perfect alternatives to your chosen songs.

And because SoundCloud allows any subscriber to upload music, there are remixes available that are beyond your wildest dreams!

Once you have utilised these helpful platforms, here are a few last things to remember;

1. Consider Age Appropriateness

It sounds obvious, but take the age of your performers into account when choosing music for their performances. It’s best to steer clear of songs with overly suggestive or mature themes – there are plenty of clean options to choose from! Use your new ‘discovery’ abilities to find great alternatives!

2. Stay Away From Top-40 Songs

Top-40 songs are a go-to for many choreographers and their dancers, but you can bet that hundreds of other studios have the same idea.

Use the ‘radio’ possibilities to find new songs, or the wonders of SoundCloud’s many remixes to give your findings that edge.

3. Find a balance

You may love a certain ’60s rock ballad, but if your dancers aren’t keen on the music, their performance may fall a little flat. There is one experiment you can try here: Choreograph to the song you like, and then teach it to your dancers using another track with similar tempo and genre. Then transfer back to your original choice, and you may find the attitude to the music has changed now that the body is ready with the moves! You may also find that it opens your dancers minds to listening to new genres and artists that they didn’t consider before.

4. Look for Must-Haves

Once you have created a ‘shortlist’, look out for ‘must-have qualities’; Your song should be easy to cut down to the right length, and it also needs to have a strong beat and proper tempo. Re-listen and check that it fits with your genre, and of course play with choreography and see if you instinctively move to it.

Writer - Stephanie Clark Porter



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