So you can’t dance? Not at all? Not even one step? How can you say that you’ve taken any trouble to live when you won’t even dance?
— German-Swiss Nobel Prize-winning poet and novelist Hermann Hesse
I have a memory from childhood, from that old TV show Hee Haw, of a man dressed in overalls marking time to the music. He improvised a set of drums by alternating a stomp of his foot with a clap of his hands. Eight beats of music went like this: stomp clap, stomp clap, stomp clap, stomp clap. I now know that this guy was capturing the downbeat and upbeat, which is the natural pairing of beats that occurs in virtually all dance music. The stomp was the downbeat and the clap was the upbeat.
I believe the downbeat and upbeat are the secret to mastering the beat of the music. This is the pattern that got me to feel the beat, to bring it beyond my ears and into my body. When I hear it I know I’ve probably found the underlying beat (if I’m not sure I listen for sets of 8 to confirm that I’m on the beat). When I feel it, I believe it acts like an autopilot and keeps me on the beat….
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