CDs, the CD player, dust, scratches, lost baggages and all kinds of other factors can cause problems on the day of the event. We saw coaches running around looking for their backup CDs and there is no guarantee that the backup will work either. The stress to the gymnast, the coach, the delay to the competition all indicate that we should look for better alternatives.
Digital music submission allows the music coordinator to organize and test prior to the event. Furthermore, the music will play as long as there is an iPhone or laptop with the right software and plugs.
We are not at a point where all competitions uses digital music and therefore you will always have to have the CDs as back up. A lot of coaches are already using digital music. Advantages are:
- It is very easy to pause or to go to a specific spot in the routine.
- Most CD players can only last a couple of years with the wear and tear. CDs also deteriorate in readability over time with dust and scratches.
- Easily transmitted over the internet using emails or file share services.
- Much easier to build a music library over the years without worrying about losing it.
- It is easier to find something that plays mp3 than to find a CD player now. (e.g. smart phones, iPods, tablets, laptop, etc)
- Gymnasts can use digital music to their advantage. They can easily visualize their routines with music during idle time.
- It is very easy to have a ‘backup’ of all your music in “the Cloud” or on your mobile and then it is available anywhere you go.
- Once you have a library of music that conforms to the naming standard, the music submission process is very simple: simply create a shared folder, copy the music and the file services will synchronize in the background to the host’s event folder in the background. No need to submit music one apparatus / gymnast at a time.
- Almost all competitions within Canada uses the standard scoring program, therefore once you have named your files once, it is a simple task of copy the athlete’s music to a shared event folder with the host.
For event host’s music organizer:
- It receives an export with the scoring program. So information such as athlete name and ID, club/team name, rotation order, etc all get passed to the music program. This means that you can search or sort by any of those columns.
- If the music files conforms to the naming standard, then it is simply accepting the shared folder, use the program to “copy and match” the music to athlete with a few button clicks. The program even uses the team names to create folders so that you do not have one giant folder with 400 pieces of music to scroll through.
- Very easy to see what gymnasts from which club still need music, or vice versa, see what music are still left in the club folder unassigned. Any manual assignment because of spelling errors can be eyeball-matched by clicking the gymnast-apparatus and then the music title.
- Can test music very quickly by just clicking and listening to the first notes of music. The load time of CDs make this verification almost impossible.
- At the event, you can simply click next if the rotation order hasn’t changed or you can search by any of the available columns, apparatus, name and you can show just one apparatus or just one club.
File Share Services
Instead of submission through online forms one by one, we are using industrial strength file share services used by millions of users. The three recommended services are:
- Dropbox– 2 GB free space to start. Use this referral link to get an extra 500M of space. You can of course go to http://www.dropbox.com directly too. Here are the instructions on how to share a folder with the host music organizer.
- Google Drive – 5GB free space to start. Create a Google account and download software if you don’t have one, otherwise, simply sign in and go to Google Drive to install. Here are the instructions on how to share a folder with the host music organizer.
- OneDrive – 7GB of free space. http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/skydrive/download. Here are the instructions on how to share a folder with the host music organizer.
Music Files naming convention and more
Music already digitized in mp3 format and stored in permanent storage like hard drive, USB, portable drive or whatever. To make it easy to match a music file to a gymnast’s routine, the following naming convention must be followed (As an example: Jane Doe – rope – CAN Club Elite – Rocky by Bill Conti.mp3):
- Name (i.e. Jane Doe, the official athlete’s name that would have used for registration and scoring purposes)
- Apparatus (i.e. one of rope, hoop, ball, clubs, ribbon, free or group, )
- Team/club abbreviated name – this is not used for music file matching but but required because of FIG CD labelling standard.
- Title and Composer – this is not used for music file matching but required because of FIG CD labelling standard.
Do’s for person submitting music
- Do submit only mp3 files because each file is only roughtly 3M in size (It makes the file transmission a lot quicker too). Do use the highest bit rate if possible.
- Do check to make sure all music are conforming to the naming standard.
- Do share at the folder level rather than individual music files, it makes it a lot easier for the organizer.
- Do make sure it is completely sync’d (uploaded to the server) before you shut down your computer.
- Do send a quick email to the organizer with your contact information just in case there is a problem so they can get back to you quickly. You should ask for a confirmation email. If you need to update any music, do let the music organizer know.
Do’s for the music organizer
- You will work closely with the head scorer who have the athlete list entered into the scoring program. You can start working on it once you have an athlete list, one club at a time.
- For all music files received, do an eyeball check to make sure all music files are intact. Any files exceptionally small are potentially problems. It is easy to do a directory sort by file size. Anything that is less than 1.5M are usually a problem.
- I usually do a sort by file type to make sure all files are of the acceptable type.
- I do a one click test as well, if I hear the start of the music, I assume it is good.
- Do use the music workbook to drive the music during training. It makes it fast and furthermore, it fully test out whatever was used.
- If you copied the music files off the original folders, you should let the submitter know too.
- Establish good communication between scoring person and yourself. Any athlete name correction and changes MUST be sync’d up (re-import or manually corrected if you know what you are doing) and tested.