Teaching Tips

Halloween Music Your Dancers Will Love to Hear in Class This Month

Nothing can get students excited for class quite like the sound of holiday music. There's just something special about breaking out of your regular routine and playing something fun and festive.

Sometimes finding good Halloween music can get a little tricky, but to help, we've compiled a playlist full of songs that your students will love to hear. With a little creativity, each teacher can find songs on this list that work for their classroom.

Have fun and get spoooooooky!

1. "Monster Mash": Bobby "Boris" Picket

2. "Ghostbusters": Ray Parker, Jr.

3. "I Put a Spell on You": Nina Simone

4. "Hedwig's Theme": John Williams

5. "This Is Halloween": Danny Elfman

6. "Highway to Hell": AC/DC

7. "Oogie Boogie's Song": Ed Ivory, Ken Page

8. "Heffalumps and Woozles": Disney Studio Chorus

9. "Spooky, Scary Skeletons": Andrew Gold

10. "Poor Unfortunate Souls": Pat Carroll

11. "Come Little Children": Sarah Jessica Parker

12. "Love Potion No. 9": The Searchers

13. "Addams Family Theme Song": Mannheim Steamroller

14. "Thriller": Michael Jackson

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Securing the correct music licensing for your studio is an important step in creating a financially sound business. "Music licensing is something studio owners seem to either embrace or ignore completely," says Clint Salter, CEO and founder of the Dance Studio Owners Association. While it may seem like it's a situation in which it's easier to ask for forgiveness rather than permission—that is, to wait until you're approached by a music-rights organization before purchasing a license—Salter disagrees, citing Peloton, the exercise company that produces streaming at-home workouts. In February, Peloton settled a music-licensing suit with the National Music Publishers' Association out-of-court for an undisclosed amount. Originally, NMPA had sought $300 million in damages from Peloton. "It can get extremely expensive," says Salter. "It's not worth it for a studio to get caught up in that."

As you continue to explore a hybrid online/in-person version of your class schedule, it's crucial that your music licenses include coverage for livestreamed instruction—which comes with its own particular requirements. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about music licensing—in both normal times and COVID times—as well as some safe music bets that won't pose any issues.

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Teaching Tips
A 2019 Dancewave training. Photo by Effy Grey, courtesy Dancewave

By now, most dance educators hopefully understand that they have a responsibility to address racism in the studio. But knowing that you need to be actively cultivating racial equity isn't the same thing as knowing how to do so.

Of course, there's no easy answer, and no perfect approach. As social justice advocate David King emphasized at a recent interactive webinar, "Cultivating Racial Equity in the Classroom," this work is never-ending. The event, hosted by Dancewave (which just launched a new racial-equity curriculum) was a good starting point, though, and offered some helpful takeaways for dance educators committed to racial justice.

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The author, Robyn Watson. Photo courtesy Watson

Recently, I posted a thread of tweets elucidating the lack of respect for tap dance in college dance programs, and arguing that it should be a requirement for dance majors.

According to onstageblog.com, out of the 30 top-ranked college dance programs in the U.S., tap dance is offered at 19 of them, but only one school requires majors to take more than a beginner course—Oklahoma City University. Many prestigious dance programs, like the ones at NYU Tisch School of the Arts and SUNY Purchase, don't offer a single course in tap dance.

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