Friday, July 19, 2013

Skating Fridays

Selecting program music

Other than working on skating elements, one of the hardest things for skaters is figuring out what music to use for a program. There are always the tried-and-true (but way overused) pieces like Swan Lake, The Firebird Suite or Moonlight Sonata. And there are soundtracks from movies, musical theater and the radio.

Because I am a musician, my personal philosophy is to use music that has a personal meaning to me. I like to skate to music that I've personally played or to something that has affected me as a musician. I've only skated two programs to date (my Bronze Freestyle and Silver Freestyle). There was no question about what music I was going to use for each.

For my Bronze Freestyle, I selected a piece that I had played many years ago with a local university. The piece was called Histoire du Tango by Astor Piazzolla. The music track was a recording of me on the flute and a fantastic guitar player who was a senior at the time.

My Silver Freestyle program was cut from the Trio Sonata in Bb Major for Flute, Violin and Piano by J.S. Bach. Once again, the music featured me on the flute, so it was a rewarding experience to skate to my own flute playing.

(I hope you all don't think I'm a major nerd for skating to my own flute music.)

I had a harder time figuring out what music to use for my Gold Freestyle program. I ultimately decided upon a composition that I played at the pinnacle of my flute playing career. I spent the entire summer before my senior year in college memorizing this 13-minute masterpiece. I was to perform this for our music department's annual concerto competition, where the winner would be featured as a soloist with the university orchestra. It was a rare honor to obtain this accolade and one that many music major and minors coveted.

Although I did not win the concerto competition, my flute professor revealed to me that I was the first runner-up. This was a huge deal since I was competing against many talented music majors (I was a music minor). Because this piece of music meant so much to me, I decided to use it for my Adult Gold Freestyle program. Hopefully it will bring me the same luck that I had when I played it in college. I regrettably did not have a recording of myself playing this piece of music, so the recording is from Sir James Galway.

And what is the piece, you might ask? Well, it is a flute and piano concerto called Concierto Pastoral by Joaquin Rodrigo. It is insanely difficult, much like my skating program.

If you are a skater, how do you choose your program music? What music inspires you?

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