Figure skating programs and music

What an exciting topic

Hello everyone! Hope you’re all doing well and staying sane for the last weeks before summer holidays or I guess in the case of figure skaters, summer camps are just around the corner! Which also means choreography season is in full swing and if you know me at all, you know how much I love choreo.

Does it matter which music to skate to?

Back when I was still competing I could not train without background music and still to this day I have music on constantly, I love so many different genres and I think there’s no better feeling than being on the ice by yourself and blasting some beautiful tunes. But when it comes to programs and the songs to use, it’s not just about feeling good. I think deciding the music to skate to, is one of the biggest decision you make before a new season. Music has everything to do with how you will feel when skating your program. Not to mention you’re gonna have to listen to that same song over and over again for months and if you’re not a fan of the song or music, how do you plan on skating well to it?

Some of my favourites

It’s extremely difficult to choose my favourite programs. But from musicality perspective I thought I’d share some of my favourites. I tried to pick very different genres and from all over the place. The programs I chose are in my eyes the full package. They are executed flawlessly, the choreo is on point and they are extremely interesting to watch. But of course there’s tons of other programs as well, but I try to keep it short!

Loena Hendrickx (BEL) Free skating from 2021/2022 – see here
Kaori Sakamoto (JPN) – Free skating from 2021/2022 – see here
Yu-Na Kim (KOR) – Short program from 2009/2010 – see here
Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir (CAN) – Free dance 2017/2018 – see here
Gabriella Papadakis/Guillaume Cizeron (FRA) – Free dance 2021/2022 – see here
Nathan Chen (USA) – Free skate 2018/2019 – see here
Ashley Wagner (USA) – Short program 2016/2017 – see here
Madison Chock/Evan Bates (USA) – Free dance 2020/2021 – see here

So how to choose your program music..

Ask any figure skater and you’ll hear from all of them that choosing the music for your program can take month. If you’re not sure in the genre to choose, it’s really difficult to narrow down favourites. But there are ways to make this process easier. Important things to take into account are: what style are you most comfortable in skating, do you want to try something new, what type of tempo do you prefer, lyrics or no lyrics. These are some things to ask yourself to figure out in which direction you’re going. Once you have figured out answers to these questions, you should be narrowed down to at least a genre.

Once you know the genre of music

There are different things you can do next. Here are some of the things I’ve done to find musics that haven’t been used before or just the best suiting songs.

  • google artists or songs of the chosen genre
  • listen to Spotify or Apple radio of the genre
  • listen to Spotify or Apple radio of one of the artist or songs of the genre
  • find playlists that include some songs you like to find similar song
  • create a playlist of different options
  • To narrow it down

    If after doing the research above you still haven’t narrowed it down I recommend going on the ice and putting on the songs that match your criteria and see which one makes you feel best. The goal of the music you choose is to speak with you. If it makes you want to tell a story or move to it or motivates you, these are the right signs. You should choose the music that you can listen to countless times and not get tired of, because every time you listen to it, you find some new nuances to it.

    How to mix program music?

    Once you have really finalised the chosen song or songs comes the tricky part, the mix. These days you can basically mix your songs on Garageband or really any music mixing application, but I know skaters that work with music composers who have music studios, because the quality of the end product is much better when done by a professional. So back in my skating days I also went to a music studio to do my music, but have since then learned to use Garageband and for many of my students I mix the music myself.

    What to keep in mind when mixing the music

    It can be challenging to figure out the right mix, because it can’t be as long as you want and you can’t be short on music either. Some things to keep in mind when making the mix:

    • stay in the time limit of the song length
    • don’t make it too repetitive
    • choose songs that have similar instruments to have easier mix
    • don’t be scared to mix different tempos and speeds
    • make sure the volume is loud enough, but not too loud that it doesn’t sound raspy
    • Once you have the mix

      Next comes the fun stuff! Once your mix is done – congratulations! You can now start choreographing your next program! I’m so excited for next season and all the programs we’ll be seeing and meanwhile I’m excited to choreograph a few more programs.

      See you next time ❤️