Did you know that convenience stores often play classical music outside their entrance to discourage people from hanging around? Why? Why do you think classical music would have that kind of power?
I would speculate that the layers of rhythm, harmonies, structure, etc in classical music is just too much information for untrained (music-wise) minds to really appreciate; it's noise rather than music to them. They would likely simply say they don't like it, but my guess is that they don't like it because it's an overwhelm of information for them (and likely a little too happy as well! lol).
Now if classical music is a deterrent for some, it's obviously got some power to it, right? We experience that power every day in the studio! Your dancers jump, bend, stretch and plie as they respond to the melodies, harmonies and rhythms that they hear.
The challenge is, is all music, all ages appropriate? Does it matter what music you use with your different aged dancers?
Let's chat music selection in dance class, shall we?!
Children at different ages appreciate different music. That becomes extremely apparent if you've got a toddler who wants to listen to cute music and your 7 year old is yelling at you to turn it off! lol. Or your 8 year old enjoys musicals but your 15 year old wants to listen to rock. You may subconsciously already operate under that mindset, but there are teachers who don't necessarily consider it so I feel like it's worth discussing.
SIDE NOTE: First off, if you're using orchestral music for choreography (keep in mind few families listen to classical music anymore), be prepared to sit your dancers down and spend some time listening to it and clapping the beats, clapping the bars.. listening to the structure of it and guiding your dancers to hear and understand it!
The qualities of music to consider are:
Now, let's talk age groups with this in mind!
Classical music can be powerful, orchestral classical music is the cream of the crop, BUT, you've got to know when and how to use it. Simpler music for younger minds with less music training is key. Complex rhythms or harmonies in the music you use with your young dancers serves no purpose; they won't understand it or be able to count it.. thereby, they definitely won't be able to dance effectively to it. I see dancers taking class who are totally off the music.. it's possible they're not really listening, but it's also very possible that they don't understand it. Understanding the rhythms, the meter, the dancer counts, etc is so incredibly important!
If you've read this and are thinking "wow, I don't even know how to count or use some of that music..", then maybe it's time for you to grab your own musical training so that you're empowered to pass on the knowledge clearly!
I've created a course just for you called The Official Music Training Course for Ballet Teachers (The OMTC)! Registration is open currently and due to it's self-study set up, you can jump in immediately after you register. If you've already registered but haven't worked on it lately, then consider this your gentle kick in the backside to keep working on it!
Love, Joy and Music to you! Lorel
Sign up here to nab your free 3 page PDF guide for ballet teachers who want to be more prepared and capable when it comes to working with a pianist!
(I promise to never, EVER, give or sell your email address to anyone because I wouldn't want that done to me!)
Hey! Great to see you here! Listen, if you're a ballet teacher who loves to learn about music in relation to ballet classes, you're in the right place! Sign up to get a free recording and stay in the loop with monthly newsletters and alerts about new blog posts.