First Freestyle: Choosing Music

This article is Part 1 of the “Building Your First Freestyle Routine” series.

You’re ready to build your first freestyle routine, woohoo! But…how do you do it? This article is part one of a series making suggestions to do just that. Today, we’re taking a look at choosing music.

Step one in building a freestyle routine is often choosing music. There are two elements to this – length and content. Let’s start with length.


Sixty seconds are most commonly allowed for novice routines, but some competitions won’t have a novice division, or the organizers may decide to give you more time. It’s best to have a plan for 60 seconds, 90 seconds, and 120 seconds. We’ll talk about how to allow for that in your choreography later, but for now focus on music. It’s perfectly acceptable to choose a song, and have the announcer play it, then just turn it off when the allotted time has passed. If you like the introduction to your song, this method works well.

However, if your song has a long, slow introduction you may choose to edit that out. A later post in this series will have information on editing music.


Lyrics – Most organizations go by the “Mickey Rule” – anything you wouldn’t hear at Disney World shouldn’t be used in competition. Skyhoundz is generally cited as the most strict organization in this regard. This is a family friendly sport, so lyrics should be appropriate for an audience of all ages. If there is a song you want to use that has some inappropriate words in it, you can edit the song to remove them.

Speed – You should choose a song that makes your dog look good. A good way to test this is to take video of your dog doing part of your freestyle routine without any sound, then play various songs while viewing the video. You may be surprised at how some songs make your dog look better and some make them look worse!

Popularity – It’s a good idea to choose a song that people know & like. This is especially true if you plan to perform at demos, or if some of the events you will attend are held at fairs or festivals. A familiar song that people like will catch their attention & they will enjoy the music as they watch, which can make them appreciate your routine more fully. On the flip side, it’s generally considered a poor idea to choose the MOST popular song that summer. If people have already heard the song to the point of getting sick of it, there may be some groans when it starts playing – the last thing you want!

Preference – Be sure to choose a song YOU like. You’ll be hearing it a lot, and you don’t want to get tired of it. The right song will make you relax into the familiarity of a beloved song, and relaxation will help you perform the same at the show as you would at home. After you’ve performed your routine a few times, other disc doggers will associate this song with your team, so you want it to be one you like!

One last word about choosing music: etiquette. It’s not considered courteous in the disc dog world to choose a song another team is already using. In fact, there is usually a thread each season on the Disc Dog Discussions Facebook group where disc doggers “claim” songs for the season. Once you have a song in mind, you may want to post on Facebook asking if another team is already using that song before you decide to use it.

Once you have your song chosen & edited to your liking, save it to your phone & burn it to a CD, and you’re all set!

For the rest of this series, see: First Freestyle: Editing MusicFirst Freestyle: Choosing ElementsFirst Freestyle: Pre-Routines and First Freestyle: Building Sets.

*Featured image is (c) Kathy Wilson


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