Teaching Tips

Soundformovement.com: A Music Website With Free Licensing for Online Dance Teachers

Choreographer Molly Heller with musician Michael Wall. Photo by Duhaime Movement Project

Love electronic music? Calming notes of a piano? Smooth, rich trumpet? Want music in clear meters of 3, or in 7? This week is the ideal time to check out musician Michael Wall's abundant website soundformovement.com. I myself have enjoyed getting to experience his music over the past five years—whether to use in a teen class, older-movers class or for my own MFA thesis choreography.


Wall is the modern-dance program head at the University of Utah. He comes with years of experience playing for dance—at festivals like Bates and ADF—plus many commissions for artists and companies such as Ailey II and Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company.

On his website, you can find music in 3s, 4s, 5s, 6s and 7s. You can find long tracks for yoga, improvisation and meditation. There are hundreds of options. You can listen to each one in its entirety before purchasing, plus most tracks are available on Spotify.

Now with the COVID-19 crisis, Michael's ever generous spirit has opened up the licensing for the music. "These are difficult times, and I want to contribute something to all of the artists I know transitioning their teaching to online formats. Any dance educator or student can use any of my music for any free online education or assignments with no licensing fees. We have already started to see many folks doing classes online through resources provided by their universities, YouTube, Instagram and Facebook. You can stream all of my music in the background of your free online content from Spotify, Apple Music and any other major streaming platform, or download it from my website."

On the website's homepage, click on the free album with 50 tracks for dance educators and students. This will keep all of us prepping, choreographing and improvising for a few weeks. Peruse the compositions as you seek music for your springtime student performances and sketch out choreographic concepts. In addition, Wall accepts commissions for new music each year.

For inspiration, check out the following videos with choreography to Wall's compositions.

Jennifer Archibald choreography for Ailey II: "Wings"

Katie Scherman choreography for SALT II Contemporary Dance Company: "i love you"

Daniel Charon choreography for Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company: "Enter"

Simpson/Stulberg Collaborations: "Still Life No. 7"

Molly Heller: "mighty"

Amy Foley (an improvisation)

ka·nei·see | collective (rehearsal clip)

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