HOW I CREATE A MUSICAL FREESTYLE, PART 3
By Frances Carbonnel
PART THREE: MATCHING YOUR MUSIC TO YOUR PATTERN
Now comes the part that sends most people to a good music editor/freestyle producer. You must match your music to the choreography. Sometimes the way the music/melody lines work, you may have trouble making them fit with your choreography and this may make you reconsider your choreography a bit to fit the music phrases better. THIS IS WHY MUSICAL FREESTYLE HAS THE ARTISTIC COMPONENT, and one half of your total score is judged on how your music and choreography fit together. Again, paying a good professional music editor to help you with this part is well worth the money. She or he has the musical expertise and the computer software to break down the music, compress phrases to match the choreography, make seamless fades, etc.…all the things the separate the beginners from the high scoring competitors. The higher the level, the more complicated the process. It is very time consuming to synchronize these two parts of your program, and believe me, your success will depend in large part on how well you do it.
After reading this, you can understand the significant time commitment all this takes, and why many riders pay a professional freestyle consultant to provide this service. It’s truly not that expensive, when you consider the cost of some very complicated software, and all the time you would spend learning to use it.
Even if you do hire a consultant, you should still expect a quite a bit of tweaking the process before you are finished, so start with generous time before you plan to compete.
Now you have your freestyle ready to ride. Next-practice, practice, practice! Learn your music and choreography by heart and do your best to hit those transitions the music editor gave you. You will score higher in the Interpretation box if you do. Remember that only you know your pattern, and you don’t have to ride exactly to a letter-if you do, your judge may say that your freestyle is “too test-like.” Figure out where you need to “ride long” and where you need to NOT ride deep into that corner! The flow of your pattern needs to be artistic, but make sure that your figures are clear to the judge. She must guess which movement you are riding, after all. Don’t leave her wondering if you executed a crucial element or not!
Finally, it’s time to ride down centerline and proudly strut your stuff. Be sure you have several copies of your music on both CD and Thumb Drive. Show Managers can differ on their requirements, AND you want to have an extra just in case. Try them to be sure they work before the show. Be sure to be present for sound check, so you are certain you (and the judge) will be able to hear your music, and don’t forget to pick up your music when you receive your test.
Anything else? YES! Don’t forget to hug your horse for his great effort and have a BLAST!
PS-In Western Dressage you do not have to have a qualifying score, but in UDF competition, you must score a 63% at the highest test of the level at which you want to do a freestyle. You must demonstrate a level of technical proficiency in the maneuvers of the level you want to use. In general, if this is your first effort, I don’t recommend trying to create a freestyle at the top level you are showing, because learning your music, remembering your pattern, hitting your marks, and actually having fun all take loads of focus, which may take down your technical marks for a while. Ease into the process and move up when you have gained experience-you don’t want to take the enjoyment out of it!