For Square Dance Callers: MY TIME LOG Checklist

Original and Effective Program Launched For Square Dance Callers: MY TIME LOG

Lots of modern western square dance callers have problems with slow progress and little improvement over years of calling. Making significant progress is a huge hang up that many ordinary people can get stuck in, not even considering the complexity of square dance calling.

It is a musical art that requires a discipline and a structure to advance in overall abilities and development. Many newer callers unnecessarily struggle with their calling. Why? Because they work at improvement ineffectively. They practice inefficiently. And they are not organized in how they pursue their advancement.

So what I have done is to put together a simple and focused regimen for callers with a highly structured schedule that maximizes efficiency and plans out your practice session for you. This combines several areas for necessary improvement. Timing, choreography writing, song programming, and effective practice sessions all are combined and controlled with two very basic worksheets that I have created aimed at forcing good discipline and making improvement easily attainable. The program is a daily practice schedule that makes it usable for everyone at whatever skill level they call at, whatever needs they might have, or even whatever square dance program they need to put together. Go here to get the program sheets. It is free for all!   MY TIME LOG:

MY TIME LOG For Square Dance Callers

Total and overall improvement and ultimately, mastery, all come from breaking the rut and practicing in a way that is different every time you turn on your equipment and practice. Every time you practice it should be totally different from the time before. Many people think that practice is the same things over and over until they “have it down,” But this is only partially true.

Generally, you should NOT practice the same things everyday. You will not improve on the level that is optimal for advancement of overall ability. Think about a session musician. Everyday they are hired to play a musical part on a song differently! Every time. That is the job!

Besides, practicing the same songs over and over is boring and you develop bad habits of doing the same thing over and over. This is not good, either! Strive for a general rule of practicing smarter, not harder, and watch and see what happens!

Related:  25 Alive Choreographic Challenge!

The MY TIME LOG program (it is free!) requires that you change songs daily. You change the program daily on figures for those singing calls practiced. You will use different choreography on hoedowns daily. Timing, which is taken for granted by most, is worked on daily in this program. This is free so check it out on the page link above.

Related:  Modern Western Square Dance Calling: Timing is EVERYTHING!

You can print these two daily MY TIME LOG worksheets off and use both to track your activities by checking the boxes as you practice. One other great thing about this practice schedule is it forces you to use other songs than you normally practice and more songs and different figures and more figures that push you into new rehearsing territory. Especially the music because the songs change EVERYDAY!

And you will record yourself in your practice session everyday. And you will see improvement, I promise you will!

If you cannot or do not feel that you can do this then attempt to change at least one song a day and record the performance on a tape and save and review and compare the performances at the end of the week. You still should ALWAYS record your practice sessions and critically review them for improvement. That is the main point of practicing singing calls twice in a practice session.

After the first time through the song you should listen to the recording you have made and then see where you want to improve upon your first performance. Look for things that you want to  improve upon, target them, then practice and record the song a second time and see if you improved. Be critical, ask for other people’s feedback and take their input and apply it so that you indeed see notable improvement.

Related:  Ways to Improve as a Square Dance Caller

Back to explaining how MY TIME LOG works. MY TIME LOG is essentially a daily time log that will propel your improvement by 4 times as to not having a good plan in place. In other words, aimless and unorganized practice sessions. The flexibility and efficiency in your practice time, combined with more effective focus on what will truly improve your square dance calling ability is what this schedule will provide.  This will guide you to a more successful path that is more focused. You will not be wasting time on things that are not directly related to your goals – better choreography, better command of calls, overall better performances. I can think of no better way to harness your time and energy in the most effective way possible.

Here are the areas of study and practice you will find on the free MY TIME LOG:

DAILY HOMEWORK FOR SQUARE DANCE CHOREOGRAPHY

PRACTICE 4 MINUTES—TIMING (2/4 DRUMBEAT) (THIS IS A WITHOUT MUSIC EXERCISE)

MICROPHONE (RECORDED) PRACTICE TIME SCHEDULE

HOEDOWN SONGS

SINGING CALL SONGS

(THE SONGS CHANGE DAILY)

“ONE THING”

This is the part that WILL PUSH and foster improvement. A new figure always added to practice regimen at end of practice session that is either a hoedown choreographic figure or a new singing call figure.

The whole key to this structure is the rotation of choreography and the square dance songs that you use. As I mentioned before, they change daily.

You do not need to unnecessarily struggle if you are a new caller. And if you are an experienced caller then use this to pull yourself out of your rut. Overcome your roadblocks – to being able to call whatever you want to, perform a larger catalog of musical material, and transcend your choreographic limitations!

MY TIME LOG (DID I MENTION IT IS FREE?) YES, IT IS FREE! CHECK IT OUT!

Feel free to call me. I would be glad to help you out, whether you need coaching or just a pointer or two.

Shaun Werkele

303-250-4735

 

 

 

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 coaching information provided here serves as a source for square dance caller training, education, 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.

 

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Methods to Advance Your Square Dance Calling Ability

Since it is National Square Dance Month, I thought it seemed like a great idea to make a list of ideas that might inspire you and would improve your calling skills and allow you to sharpen your axe and head for the square dancing woodshed. The following square dance caller education tips are some great ways to implement various methods and practice habits to make your square dance calling more proficient. As with most things that require practice, a “little at a time a lot of the time” is the best recommended approach:

  • Create a schedule for practice time
  • Create a structured dance program that you can call anywhere
  • Follow that program in practice sessions daily
  • Practice in front of a mirror
  • Practice without any music
  • Practice with music
  • Practice with a metronome or drum machine
  • Practice with another caller
  • Read caller articles and ideas and choreography from local and national resources
  • Take an oral “recitation test” of your memorized choreography as quickly as you can and record it
  • Meet with a local state and national square dance caller’s association
  • Take a voice lesson or two with a vocal coach
  • Learn to play a musical instrument
  • Participate in local state, regional and national square dance conventions for callers
  • Set a few minutes a day for moving checkers
  • Practice square dancing in your head
  • Go to a square dance
  • Take lessons from another square dance caller to advance yourself a dance level
  • Learn a new singing call each week and tape record it
  • Practice one patter tip 3 times with 3 different hoedowns that vary musically
  • Practice sight calling “mental image”
  • Combine memorized modules and then force yourself to change the setups and get outs 3 different times
  • Attend a caller’s school or seminar
  • Have a dancer evaluate your calling
  • Try calling a tip without any music, record it and critique it (without any music)
  • Record a practice tip and critique it
  • Have a square dance caller evaluate your calling
  • Purchase a few new square dance calling releases
  • Attend a class for beginners in music at your local community college
  • Enlist a “mentor” or square dance caller coach to help you who is experienced and knowledgeable
  • Listen to other callers and take 2 important ideas/approaches and apply that to your calling
  • Recruit a square of friendly and enthusiastic dancers to allow you to practice your calling upon from time to time

I believe that anyone can learn to square dance call if they work at it. There are so many different niches in the activity, whether you are looking to call square dance parties locally, the Advanced and Challenge square dance levels, or perform on a national scale.

Call Shaun Werkele at 303-250-4735 if you have any questions, or if you need any suggestions on how to get started in learning to square dance call!

Have a great day!

 

 

 

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 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.