Picking the right show music can make or break your show. It is very important to pick good music for several reasons. Here are a few suggestions to follow when choosing music for your indoor show.
1. Choose music with plenty of dynamics. Show music should have ups and
downs; layers of sound; and definitive sections like a beginning,
middle, and end. Music that is too repetitive or monotone is not only
boring to listen to, but it is also difficult to write to. Natural dips
and changes in the music lend itself well to drill movements and
2. The length of a song should also be considered when choosing show music.
Be sure to check the timing guidelines for your class before finalizing
your music selection. A song that is significantly longer or shorter
than the allotted time will be difficult to cut. You can easily add on
about 30 seconds to most songs by looping an introduction or repeating a
single verse or chorus. However, cutting or adding on more than that
becomes repetitive or can lose the meaning of your song choice.
3. It is a good idea to double check that your song hasn't been used in
the past five years, at least. If you use the same music as another
group, your show might be compared to theirs. You don't want judges to
have a bad memory of the song you chose -- nor do you want to live up to
their high expectations of that song if that's the case.
4. Current Top 20 songs don't always make a good choice for two reasons: a)
other groups may have chosen the same music; and b) it may be too
overplayed on the radio and disliked by the time performances start.
5. Considering the tempo of a song is a very important part of choosing music! A tempo that is too fast will be hard to keep up with, but a tempo that is too slow will be difficult to clean and performers will tend to speed up. A tempo of about 120 (two beats per second) is a good speed to stick with. Practice doing comfortable drop spins with the song as a test when you're not sure.
6. Time signature is also important to consider. Counts in 3/4 time might be confusing to more inexperienced performers. Sometimes it is easier to find a song in 4/4 time with even, 16 count phrases. A song with a strong back beat will be easier for beginners to count, and easier for you to clean once the choreography has been filled in.
7. Finally, pick music that is pleasant to listen to. It should appeal to the
judges, the audience, the performers, and the staff because you'll be
listening to it for months! Make sure it's not a song you'll soon tire
THANKS FOR READING! For more tips and fun stuff about the marching arts OR if you are interested in custom Winter Guard show design, drill, and choreography or Marching Band drill and Color Guard choreography, check out my website at marchandspin.com.