This blog is a collection of my thoughts and experiences from ten years as a skate dad. For those of you sitting with your jackets in the bleachers, first I salute you, but second I want to give you an honest sense of what you are in for and what to expect. Ice skating is both a trying and a glorious sport, but it doesn't happen without the special group of folks who cheer, support, and console the participants. This is dedicated to you.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

- choosing

Xan recently posted her thoughts on why you should allow your coach to choose your skating music. After a few weeks of subconscious digestion I recognized that ''music" is only a barometer for a wider issue: how your skater relates to both her coach and the sport.

Naturally the manner that your child uses to make choices gradually changes as she matures. When your kid is little they exhibit definite tastes and won't be shy to express what they *dislike*. At a young age they may not however be fully cognizant of what they actually like -- you can expose them to all sorts of musical styles and most will be "meh" but at any rate all of them will broaden your kid's receptivity to expressiveness. At this point in their education I would follow Xan's advice and let the coach suggest the music, within the bounds that your kid doesn't wrinkle their nose too vehemently upon hearing it.

Once your kid hits around ten or eleven and starts competing regularly they are also going to be exposed to the music from lots of other skaters (and from those skaters' coaches). They will quickly discover that many programs prove more "dynamic" (or fall flat) due to the music. Around the age of twelve you and your skater face a critical juncture with respect to choosing their music. This is not unlike (and perhaps coterminous) with a tad of pre-teen rebellion. Continue along and work with the coach in choosing the music? Or step up to the plate and call your own tune?

At this point I say encourage your kid to select her own music. If it helps at all rest assured you're not risking damage to the relationship with your coach (although she may give you some pushback). If she's seasoned your coach has already seen a wide variety of student personalities; a wizened coach will reserve her doubts.

When your daughter chooses her own music it will have two major impacts. First it will tighten her involvement with actually listening to the music and its feelings. She'll begin to evaluate what she hears outside of the rink against what she thinks might be nice to skate to. More importantly perhaps it will shift her focus slightly away from competing and more toward her artistic expression.

Where can she glean new ideas for music? Have her create a Pandora station with a couple songs that she's already skated and see where the new suggestions lead. Having your teen skater choose her own music will make her a more independently artistic performer.

1 comment:

  1. As a coach I actually encourage my skaters to pick their own music. I am a musician as well, so I know how important it is to connect with a piece of music. I find the skater does better and enjoys practicing the piece over and over again.

    I find new music from pandora all the time, or asking other coaches some suggestions, or going through my own music collection.

    Keep pushing for her to pick her own music!