Selecting Effective Performance Music
by Joyce E. Pennington
In performance, we can measure the success of presentation by what we hear as well as what we see. A great dance/ drill team routine can fall to mediocrity when the music selection or quality is not right. There are three important variables in musical presentation that will make or break your routine:
1. Type of Music
2. Tempo or Rhythm
3. Quality of Music Recording

In the initial selection of your music, always make sure that you have listened carefully to the words as well as general message of the song. With the strong influence of morals and values that we teach and demonstrate through drill team, it is imperative that we do not misrepresent ourselves by a poor choice of song selection for a performance.

The rhythm or tempo of the music will effect the energy level of the performers as well as the response of the audience. There are many good selections of music that become more dynamic by speeding up the music slightly with your variable speed recorder. On the other hand, music that may have a tempo far too fast may be slowed down to better accommodate a high kick, lyrical jazz or modern dance routine. Experiment with the tempo until you achieve the perfect rhythm for the style of routine your team is performing.

Last, but not least, make sure you have the highest quality possible for your musical recording. I have seen so many great teams work weeks and weeks in preparing for a contest or special performance routine only to fall short because of a poor musical recording. Keep in mind the amount of money you spend on costumes and preparation for choreography and be willing to put the same forethought into your music. There are many resources to use to obtain a good recording: your choir or band department at school, local radio stations, or high tech music enthusiast (brother or father). Make sure you have edited your music properly to fade or end at the right point and spend the extra few dollars on high music quality tape instead of what is on sale.

Your music is all important to the success of your performance. When you have made sure that you have selected the right piece of music, you have experimented to find the right tempo and your recording is of the best quality, present your music with plenty of volume, on good sound equipment and you will have the best results possible...Break a leg!

Tips for Quality Recordings
It is always baffling to me to see such an outstanding team routine performed to a poor quality piece of music. Many teams will spend thousands of dollars on costumes and less than $2 on a music tape. To help you prepare the best quality sound tapes for your performance routines, we have compiled the following suggestions:

+ Avoid using a battery powered recorder as it can affect the tempo.
+ Clean recorder heads with a Q-tip and isopropyl alcohol; or a head cleaner 
with a demagnetizer can be used. The head should be cleaned after every five hours of playing or recording time.
+ If the tape drags and is tight, take a pencil and advance the tape forward five to ten revolutions, then hold the tape in your hand and hit it firmly against the palm of your other hand.
+ Try to record directly from a record or CD for the clearest quality recording. Remember, when taping from another tape, you lose a generation of quality each time you copy the tape.
+ Utilize quality equipment that has the capacity to record internally. Patch cords tend to cause static and lessen the quality of the recording.


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