Tuesday, March 17, 2009


The Magic of the Match online workshop continues for my MDSA group. Challenging, intense, and fun all describe my evenings.

It takes time to watch the pairs as they heel while three or four or five possible music choices for their freestyle routine plays in the background. Sometimes the match just jumps out at me (Magic!) and it's easy. Most times I compare, dither, change my mind, and eventually come to some sort of conclusion.

My daily mailbox typically has about forty-five emails from other members contributing their musical matches for the "On Stage" teams. One piece of music usually receives approval from the majority, but every melody has at least one fan that thinks it's the perfect match for that team. Well, maybe Hot Canary irritates us all...thankfully, since I pity the dog that has to listen, much less dance to it.

I'm sure I've picked at least one melody for a team that has made others wonder what I could possibly have been thinking. My only excuse is that if I really like a piece, then I want to find a dog that can dance with it. Or sometimes I dislike a song intensely enough that nothing could persuade me to match it with a dog, so I end up choosing something less than ideal.

Things that I've learned so far:
  • Music must compliment the dog's tempo while heeling. If it does, the dog could do nothing but heel and the couple would look wonderful.
  • Tempo is not everything, the music should also suit the dog's style--athletic, dainty, graceful, youthful, energetic, deliberate, etc. A musical selection could match the canine footsteps perfectly but be too heavy for a toy poodle or too feminine for an outdoorsy Labrador retriever.
  • Golly, then you have to consider the lyrics. Great tempo and style don't fly unless the lyrics soar too.
  • Lots of music is really "almost" perfect. I think some dogs move well to a wide variety of songs and it can be hard to choose which is best.
  • Fortunately, every song has been recorded by a plethora of artists. An "almost" song can become pure Magic with the right recording.
  • The better you know the dog, the easier it is to choose good music for a freestyle routine.
  • Conversely, not knowing the sex or age or personality of a dog can contribute to a poor musical choice.
  • Musical carries emotional weight (which is why there is never universal agreement about which melody is Magic).

Thank heavens that new matches come up On Stage only two or three times per week, otherwise my brain would be subject to Musical Overload! As it is, I dream of dogs and music way too often. Not to mention that I can't get Blue Tango out of my brain!

Here's the link but remember that this carries an earbug warning: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27aV9OTl8TM

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