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Keep the Beat
Posted by kengraham
10/15/2007  9:08:00 AM
Although I have been dancing for a number of years. I can not hear the beat. Recently I started lessons in SD where the instructor is great and counts out the beat when to start.
I have asked this question many times.
How can I train myself to hear the beat, to me this is embarrassing.
Keep the Beat
Posted by Anonymous
10/14/2007  2:12:00 PM
Kengraham. Not able to hear the beat. Which is wrong unless you are stone deaf. At your very beginning the whole class should have been made to count the beats, in for instance a Waltz, aloud. After walking around for years not dancing to the correct beat. I would sit with somebody who can count. With the music playing strum my fingers on a table top to the music counting and keeping time with my instructor.After tapping out every beat, of which in the Waltz is three to one bar, I would then tap only the first beat. In the Waltz as in most dances the first beat is accentuated. All of the above should have been done in the beginning. But it isn`t , is it.Good Luck
Keep the Beat
Posted by Ellen
10/14/2007  4:46:00 PM
You may be trying too hard! When I first started dancing, I found that my body could respond to the beat even when I thought I wasn't hearing it. Once, my teacher pointed out that, at the same time I was telling him I couldn't hear the beat, my head was moving in time to it!

The best way to learn is to listen to lots of dance music when you are not dancing. Don't try to "hear" it--just tap your feet or fingers to the music. Soon you'll realize what you are responding to in the music.

I found waltz music easy to hear at first, if you find a song with a clear beat. The 1 beat is usually very clear in waltz and there is rarely a lot of other percussion to confuse things. Start with trying to hear the 1 each time it happens, then when that is clear, listen for the 2 and 3.

I had a hard time hearing the beat at first, but with practice I did learn.

Good luck!
Keep the Beat
Posted by shuelin
10/14/2007  5:24:00 PM
I too would be interested, I have tried helping my partner and have not had much luck. I did listen to a find the beat in salsa music I will see if I can find it again.

Keep the Beat
Posted by shuelin
10/15/2007  12:07:00 PM
here is the link i was refering to.

Keep the Beat
Posted by Anonymous
10/22/2007  8:44:00 PM
Something written on this site about having difficulty hearing the beat got me thinking. I suppose most of you are aware that in a competition when I first started dancing there were no vocal recordings played. Victor Silvester never used a vocalist in all the years he played and recorded. In other words we didn`t have to decode the song from the singer. I honestly can`t remember ever hearing a person complaine that they couldn`t pick up the beat.I think our job was made that much easier. The message here is , if you are learning to count leave vocals alone. Stick to music only. It would be of some interest to know when a vocal record was first used in a competition or even a demonstration. I am of course talking the International Style Ballroom.
Keep the Beat
Posted by DennisBeach
10/14/2007  6:14:00 PM
What helped me, is listening to the music and having the teacher note the beat verbally or by clapping. In the beginning I just did not understand what I was suppose to be listening to. Than listening to music and focusing on finding the beat. I went from not hearing the beat, to being able to pick out the beat on most songs and identifying what can be danced to the song.
Keep the Beat
Posted by dheun
10/14/2007  8:50:00 PM
I had forgotten how tricky this can be, as recently a few friends I was helping with dances asked the same question and just had no "ear" for the music tempo or beat.
It seems best to try to listen to the "back beat" or the bass and percussion of a song. Your dance count is often hiding in there.
Otherwise, don't fret about a count, per se, and maybe just visualize yourself or another couple dancing to the song you are listening to. And then slowly count their steps in your mind. Before long, when you hear a song, you will automatically know what dance is best suited for a certain song.
Also, be prepared to have some difficulty adjusting to live music, after learning in a studio to strict tempo ballroom music. Some live bands are wonderful, others leave you kind of "cheating" between steps to get back on count and to keep things moving as smoothly as possible.
Keep the Beat
Posted by phil.samways
10/15/2007  3:24:00 AM
My advice would be to keep your learning process as simple as possible. Don't worry about dancing - tap your feet to music (quickstep would be best for this) or clap to the beat, or even walk about the house 'in time' with some waltz music. Do this on your own.
At first you won't know whether it's right or wrong. But hopefully, you'll get the hang of it.
In a studio, with other people telling you you're right or wrong (usually the latter, i guess) can be a bit demoralising and is putting you under pressure, making the learning more difficult.
Good luck with it.
Keep the Beat
Posted by alexis445
10/15/2007  9:02:00 AM
Hi Ken--

I agree with all the other posters here -- try to keep it as simple as possible in the beginning, you will notice that you're probably picking up on the basic beat without even realizing it.

As a very new dancer I have a lot of trouble finding the beat, especially picking up on the "1" beat. This page helped me a little by breaking down the "measures" of music. It seems a little complicated, but the section on the "tick tock" or "down beat (1), up beat (2)" was quite helpful. Hope it helps.


Keep the Beat
Posted by kengraham
10/15/2007  10:34:00 AM

The response was very impressive and I thank you all for taking the time to offer suggestions. I can see that I am not alone, just need to stay with it. I have read each several times, will follow the advise and will keep trying.
Thank You
Ken in SD
Re: Keep the Beat
Posted by Eric
10/23/2007  10:44:00 AM
I'm with you on this. One of my studio's instructors asked me if I had problems hearing the beat. I've listened to enough music that I can now hear it in many songs (not all, yet), but I often lose it after I start dancing. He calls that "Don't bother me, I'm dancing". I'm getting better, as I can often recognize when I get off the beat, though getting back on is still a challenge.

Your situation is more basic. You need to listen to more music. Don't listen to the radio when you drive. Listen to the music you will dance to. Listen not to the tune, but the underlying cadence (not all beat comes from a drum). You should count until you are so comfortable that you can pick up the beat in the middle of the song and count it accurately. Some instructors will tell you not to count when you dance, but I'd suggest you tell them to go pound sand until you "get it" (politely). Eventually you will, and then you won't need to count (physically). Like any other skill, practice is the best medicine.
Re: Keep the Beat
Posted by Anonymous
10/23/2007  4:44:00 PM
Eric. Learn to count in bars of music.
1234 2234 3234 4234 through to 8234. Put a tick on a piece of paper. On a good piece of dance music it will be written that there is a four bar introduction followed by 64 bars of music played at a speed of.......I would use a none vocal Foxtrot and count every bar from the beginning to the end.What will happen towards the end is the concentration can wander. If you can get the same count repeatedly your doing OK. How often should this be done. Answere You never stop.
Re: Keep the Beat
Posted by molesaver
10/24/2007  4:30:00 PM
Check out "Social Dancing: Steps to Success," by Judy Patterson Wright. The first five chapters are about things to know before you learn any steps including two invaluable chapters called, "Music Structure," and "Ear-Foot Coordination". Best stuff about music for non-musicians I have seen, complete with simple (not to say easy) exercises to help you get it.
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