Are you rhythmically challenged? Lack musicality?

If you can’t hear the beat of music it’s not a lack of ability, it’s a lack of education. As a kid, were you taught how to hear the beat? No way.

set of 8 aka 8-count or dancers-8

The secret to hearing the beat of music

What’s the key to hearing the beat? Listening for the “sets of 8” (also known as, the 8-count or dancers 8).

A set of 8 is a rhythmic grouping of 8 beats. It’s like a “sentence” of music. You can hear sets of 8 in almost all music (waltz is in sets of 6). With practice, you can train your ear to hear “the 8s.”

Do you do zumba, aerobics, hip hop, modern, jazz, Latin, swing or ballroom? Do you run or lift weights listening to workout music? Improving your connection to music—starting with hearing the sets of 8–will juice your performance and enjoyment.

Click on this link for an intro on how to hear the 8-count (sets of 8) in music.

I know what you’re thinking: Sure, it’ll help me dance better, I get that. But run better? Seriously?

From the budding field of biomusicology:

When listening to music, people run farther, bike longer and swim faster than usual—often without realizing it.

Ferris Jabr, Scientific American – March 20, 2013

 A testimonial from a fitness instructor

How important are the sets of 8? Here’s the experience of Kendra P. who was training to be a fitness instructor:

I stumbled upon your blog/website [] when I did a YouTube search for “counting 8 beats in music.” I recently attended a PiYo Strength Training (which is a fitness training) and the instructor told me to work on musicality. I have been a dancer my whole life, but somehow managed to memorize and rely on the lyrics, rather than listening to and “feeling” the music…silly, I know! I feel confident in the physical aspect of the teaching, but I was really uncomfortable with the counting beats portion. In a fitness class, it is very evident when the instructor does not know how to count to music…the class seems very choppy and feels like it doesn’t flow. I definitely didn’t want to be that instructor! I read through your website word for word and watched all of your videos and Skippy’s video. It has helped me so very much! I really appreciate you taking the time to write such a descriptive, detailed tutorial on dancing and music. My friend was telling me once the beats are pointed out, you will say, “oh, duh! Why didn’t I hear that before?!” And it’s very true….after watching your videos and watching your hand motions, it’s so obvious now!

Kendra P.

The book

Ballroom dancing survival guide on AmazonIf you’re learning to partner dance and are struggling, my book, Every Man’s Survival Guide to Ballroom Dancing, can help. You can check out the Table of Contents here (includes links to some free chapters). Ladies, despite the title, this book will help you too. Really.



Header photo credits: 1) Lidyanne Aquino on flicker 2) Damion Gadal on flickr 3) Brendan Lally on flickr

Copyright © 2012-2015  James Joseph. All rights reserved.