Phrasing in ballroom dancing is an intermediate-level concept but I beg you, O Humble Beginner, to begin actively listening for the major phrases in all music (this video goes with the book so it’s also posted on the Freebie Video page):
This will help you to hear the sets of 8, hence, how to hear the beat in music. It’ll also make listening to all music more fun—even your rap and metal stuff—because it helps you predict where the music is going.
A major phrase is a “paragraph” of music (sets of 8 are the “sentences”). While sets of 8 will be consistent throughout a song (Geek Alert: that’s by virtue of the 4/4 time signature), major phrases vary so a song can have phrases of different lengths. Like other structural elements of music, sometimes hearing the major phrases is subtle and sometimes it’s in your face. The basic 32-beat phrase is common and they’re easy to hear in this music.
Is there music (name the title) where you can’t hear the major phrases?