Palooza Effect: Selecting Square Dance Music

The Importance and Methods of Selecting the Best Music for Modern Square Dance Calling

The selection of music for a square dance is a really big deal and all modern square dance callers should be spending a lot of time making strong decisions in choosing the best music and songs for a night’s dancing, whether it is a festival, dance weekend, or even a square dance party. Think about how the music emotionally charges people, elevates their moods and it can change their overall feelings. It is the energy of the music that brought everyone to the square dance in the first place!

Turn the Beat Around:

In selecting music for a square dance, the type of event and the people in attendance will be paramount in your final choices for music. Younger crowds put out a lot of energy, and so consequently, up-tempo and faster back-beat songs are in order. The older set will enjoy songs from their past and will heap appreciation upon you for using music they can identify with and enjoy.

Related: Musical Variety: Advice For Square Dance Callers

Find Your Inspiration!

Your source for musical inspiration is a well that you can draw from in daily life. Think about how and where you hear music and how that psychologically affects your experiences on an emotional level. Use these opportunities to culminate some musical material for yourself for your own program of square dances that you call:

  • A song you danced to recently
  • A song you heard On Youtube
  • Music you noticed in a movie
  • A song you heard on a square dance music website
  • A song you heard at a restaurant
  • Perusing through a collection of old vinyl records

Finding the music is only half of the game. Next, you need to figure out if the song is right for you. Intently listen only to the instrumental version that you would be calling to at a dance. This is important. When you are selecting and purchasing square dance music make a determination whether the song rendition is worthy of your performing style and vocal capabilities. Also understand that you can change the choreography – and probably should – to suit your dancer’s needs. The recording artist’s choreography or vocal performance for a piece of music should not be the deciding factor in your decision to purchase a particular square dance song.

Related:  Guidelines For Practicing Square Dance Calling

(Hey You!) Comfortably Sung

Music that is comfortable for you to sing to is vital. If you have ever taken voice lessons (I recommend that you do), you might be familiar with the classification of singers as in a vocal range such as a soprano, mezzo-soprano, or contralto (alto) if you are a female caller, and a countertenor, tenor, baritone, or bass if you are a male caller. Test your voice according to the following specifications on this video:



Music that you can handle comfortably in your singing performance will allow you to call longer, with less energy, and without strain. You will sound much better and everyone wants that situation. After all, the people attending a square dance expect a good time and you will want to sound your best.

The Crescendo:

The release of dopamine when people listen to and enjoy music makes it an extremely rewarding and fulfilling activity. It relaxes and stimulates people and they are able to emotionally respond to it. Whether you use traditional square dance music, hip-hop, electropop, or the oldies genre, you have the responsibility to let people’s spirits soar and connect with them on a level that allows for them to have so much fun that they remember the get-together for the rest of their lives!


Best Regards,
Shaun Werkele




Mission Statement: The purpose of this post is to create a greater visibility of the square dance activity for future dance population growth on a national and local level. The information provided here serves as a source for square dance caller education training and perspectives on dance. Future articles will be developed to improve the programs of square dancing and how those learning to square dance call can help contribute to the preservation of both modern western square dancing and traditional square dancing and to aid in the growth of the square dance activity.