Want to enjoy music more?  

 

Got rhythm?Learn to count the underlying beat because counting connects you to the music. Yeah, really.

[Skip the BS, take me to the videos.]

Enjoying music is not about knowing music in your head, it’s about connecting to it at a deeper, rhythmic level. It’s about feeling it in your bones.

I know, that sounds like a lot of voodoo-flakey-smoke-and-mirror kind-of-stuff. But it ain’t.

Below are more than 20 short, instructional, YouTube videos on how to connect to music. These videos are a Free Online Course on counting, rhythm, musicality and how to hear the beat.

Need more help? These videos are also the official Video Playlist for my forthcoming little book (November 2017), Hear the Beat, Feel the Music: Count, Clap and Tap Your Way to Remarkable Rhythm. Yeah, it’s for sale. But it’s pretty darn cheap ($4.99 on kindle or $10.95 print on Amazon—but not until this summer!).

GET STARTED NOW: There’s no login or email required. Just start watching the videos (most are about five minutes in length). NOTE: This webpage is still under construction (as of September 2017), but most of the videos are up.

QUESTIONS? FRUSTRATED? Post a comment at the bottom of this page. Tell me where you’ve been struggling and I’ll try to help.

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Contents

Chapter 1: Count Music, Hear the Beat

Video 1.1Louie theme song
Video 1.2 – “Gotta Do Some War Work, Baby” by Cootie Williams
Video 1.3 – Intro to sets of 8 – How to count music
Video 1.4 – “Hotel California” by the Eagles
Video 1.5 – Hear sets of 8 – Feel the music

Chapter 2: Practice Counting

Video series 2.1 – Count music – Sets of 8 (scroll through the series)
Video 2.2 – “Little Talks” by Of Monsters and Men
Video 2.3 – Count sets of 8 – Hand exercise by Skippy Blair
Video 2.4 – Sets of 8 – Easy versus hard music

Chapter 3: Clap

Video 3.1 — Hear the downbeat and upbeat in dance music
Video 3.2 – Beat boxing basics with Dub FX
Video 3.3 – “King of the Road” by Roger Miller
Video 3.4 – Where to snap your fingers in music
Video 3.5 – Where to clap in music
Video 3.6 – Clap to music – Lindy hop jam circle
Video 3.7 – “One Evening” by Feist
Video 3.8 – Harry Connick Jr and clapping

Chapter 4: Waltz

Video 4.1 – A medley of waltz music
Video 4.2 – Count waltz music – Sets of 6

Chapter 5: Tempo

Video 5.1 – How to calculate music temp
Video 5.2 – “Before He Cheats”
Video 5.3 – “Kryptonite” by 3 Doors Down

Chapter 6: Phrasing

Video 6.1 – Count music – 32-Beat major phrases
Video series 6.2 – Count music – 32-Beat phrasing (scroll through the series)
Video 6.3 – Count music – 48-Beat phrasing
Video series 6.4 – Count music – Complicated  phrasing

Chapter 7: Move to Music

Video 7.1Musicality in West Coast swing
Video series 7.2 – Hitting the breaks by punching the air
Video 7.3 – “Happy” by Pharrell Williams

EXPLICIT LYRICS ALERT: I will avoid using music with explicit lyrics. I will post a warning if a song has questionable lyrics. If I miss something, let me know and I’ll fix it. Pronto.

MISSING VIDEO ALERT: Occasionally, YouTube will pull or mute a video because of copyright law. I apologize in advance because it’s going to happen. Please let me know because I’m relying on readers to give me a heads up (jim@ihatetodance.com).
DISCLAIMER: I live in the U.S.A. and, because copyright laws vary from country to country, I’m declaring that the content on this page is for people who live in the U.S.A. No way can I can monitor videos and copyright laws in more than 190 countries. But if a video is blocked in your country, let me know and I’ll find a solution.

 

The Videos

Chapter 1: Count Music, Hear the Beat

A set of 8 is a rhythmic grouping of eight beats of music. It’s used by dancers as an easy way to count music. It’s also called the “8-count” or the “dancers 8.”

And sets of 8 define the beat of music! So, if you can count the sets of 8, you’ve found the beat. In most music, sets of 8 often repeat throughout a song, kind of the same way that sentences repeat in a piece of writing.

Just one more term for now: a major phrase is a specific number of sets of 8. The most common major phrase is four sets of 8, which is 32 beats of music.


Video 1.1Louis theme song
Hearing the sets of 8 doesn’t get any easier than this song. The major phrases in this song are structured in four sets of 8 (32 beats). Listen to the first major phrase, which runs from nine seconds to 27 seconds (ignore the nine second intro). Listen how, thematically, the first three sets of 8 set something up, which gets resolved in the fourth set of 8. I count the sets of 8 to this song in the first 40 seconds of video 1.5.



Video 1.2“Gotta Do Some War Work, Baby” by Cootie Williams
Jeez, this song brings back memories. I first heard it years ago and it was a breakthrough for me: it was the first song where I could hear the sets of 8 and the major phrases without counting. In this song, try to get a feel for the structure without counting. Like the Louis theme song above, this song also has 32-beat major phrases structured in four sets of 8. Listen how the first three sets of 8 set something up, which gets resolved in the fourth set of 8 (each major phrase runs about 12 seconds). I count the sets of 8 to this song in video 1.5 starting at the 44 second mark.


Video 1.3 Intro to Sets of 8 – How to count music
“Sets of 8” define the beat. Yeah, really. I explain it in this video, including the relationship between a set of 8 and the musician’s four-beat measure.



Video 1.4 “Dark Love” by the Robin Rogers
This is darn easy music: tempo is slow, good downbeat and upbeat, clear sets of 8, simple phrasing (four sets of 8, which is a 32-beat major phrase) and a really nice blues song. BUT, there’s something tricky about the song, which I decided to turn into a teachable moment because I like the song and I already made the next video (video 1.5). At this point, the issue isn’t important but I discuss it at the end of Chapter 4 under a MUSIC NOTE (spoiler alert: it has to do with time signature).


Video 1.5Sets of 8 – Easy Music
I count the sets of 8 for the three songs in videos 1.1, 1.2 and 1.4, above.

 

Chapter 2: Practice Counting


Video series 2.1.1 – Count Music – Sets of 8

Want to hear the beat and rhythmically connect to music? Learn to count the sets of 8. Watch this series, video 2.1.1 to video 2.1.6:

 

Video series 2.1.2 – Count Music – Sets of 8

 

Video series 2.1.3 – Count Music – Sets of 8

 

Video series 2.1.4 – Count Music – Sets of 8

 

Video series 2.1.5 – Count Music – Sets of 8

 

Video series 2.1.6 – Count Music – Sets of 8

 


Video 2.2 – “Little Talks” by Of Monsters and Men

Pop Quiz: In the chorus of this song, there’s one beat in each set if 8 that gets a strong accent with the word, “hey.” On which count is the accented “hey”? For the answer, I count the sets of 8 to this song in video 6.2.1.



Video 2.3 – Count sets of 8 – Hand exercise by Skippy Blair

I’m happy to have my teacher, dance educator Skippy Blair, demonstrate the best exercise for bringing the sets of 8 into your body. “Chop” (like a karate chop) counts 1 to 4 with one hand; then chop counts 5 to 8 with the other hand. This gets your body moving on each beat. Plus, it helps in timing and coordination because your hand can’t be late. Also, by switching hands between measures on count 5, it gets you to acknowledge the four-beat measures in the music.



Video 2.4 – Sets of 8 – Easy versus hard music

This song, “Rolling in the Deep” by Adele, has sections that are easy to count and sections that are hard to count. The sets of 8 in the first, second and fourth 32-beat major phrases are easy to hear. But note how hard it becomes to count the sets of 8 in the third major phrase (starting at about 44 seconds). In general, there’s easy music and hard music out there. When you’re first training your ear to hear the sets of 8, stick to easy music.

 

Chapter 3: Clap


Video 3.1  Hear the downbeat and upbeat in dance music

The downbeats are counts 1, 3, 5 and 7. The upbeats are counts 2, 4, 6 and 8.

While it may be cultural conditioning, people in America count on the upbeats.

LINGO ALERT: Dancers define downbeat and upbeat differently than musicians. And you’ll hear other terms used to label downbeat and upbeat. It’s confusing. When you hear these words, translate it into what you know.



Video 3.2 – Beat boxing basics with Dub FX

If you don’t know what beat boxing is, this might be a little weird. It’s the art of producing drum sounds with your voice. So don’t think of this as if the man is singing; think of this as if you were listening to a set of drums. To create a downbeat and an upbeat drum track, listen how he uses the phrase “bouncing CATS” (the “b” in bouncing is the downbeat, the “C” in CATS is the upbeat). The demo of “bouncing CATS” runs for just a few seconds from 0:53 to 1:06.


Video 3.3 – “King of the Road” by Roger Miller

The only thing you really hear in the first 16 beats of this song is snapping on counts 2, 4, 6 and 8. Get a feel for how a simple snap on the upbeat can create rhythm and structure.



Video 3.4 – Where to snap your fingers in music



Video 3.5 – Where to clap in music



Video 3.6 – Clap to music – Lindy hop jam circle

This is an example of an audience clapping correctly. It’s a harder song to clap to because the tempo is fast and the upbeat has no emphasis. Try to count the sets of 8 and confirm that they’re clapping on counts 2, 4, 6 and 8.



Video 3.7 – “One Evening” by Feist

This video has a little bit of both snapping and clapping. While the sets of 8 are harder to hear, note how the natural pairing of beats (a downbeat and an upbeat) give you a strong clue to help identify the beat.



Video 3.8 – Harry Connick Jr and clapping

Pop Quiz: The audience starts clapping, incorrectly, on counts 1, 3, 5 and 7. At some point Harry Connick, Jr., slips in an extra beat of music to shift the clapping to counts 2, 4, 6 and 8. At what point does he do that?

Harry Connick Jr. and clapping – NOTE: The “embed” feature for this video player is disabled so clicking on the link will take you to the YouTube page for the video.

 

Chapter 4: Waltz


Video 4.1 – A medley of waltz music

Waltz, which is in the 3/4 time signature, is counted in sets of 6. Waltz has a different feel than music counted in sets of 8, which is the 4/4 time signature. Listen to these cuts and try to get a feel for a waltz. Let your head go down slightly on count 1 and count 4, which will help you bring the waltz into your body.



Video 4.2 – Count waltz music – Sets of 6

Chapter 5: Tempo


Video 5.1 – How to calculate music tempo



Video 5.2 – “Before He Cheats”

Click on this link if want to tap the tempo with your finger. See the tempo listed at 74 in this BPM database (it’s second on the list). See the tempo listed at 148 in this BPM database. Which tempo, 74 or 148, is correct?



Video 5.3 – “Kryptonite” by 3 Doors Down

The song seems fast but see the tempo is only 99 BPM.

 

Chapter 6: Phrasing


Video 6.1 – Count music – 32-Beat major phrases



Video series 6.2.1 – Count music – 32-Beat phrasing (scroll through the series)

Video series 6.2.2

Coming soon!

Video 6.3 – Count music – 48-Beat phrasing

Coming soon!

Video series 6.4 – Count music – Complicated phrasing

Coming soon!

 

Chapter 7: Move to Music


Video 7.1 – Musicality in West Coast swing
This video shows great musicality. If you read the YouTube comments, this dance was not choreographed, but I presume both dancers were familiar with the song and they have danced together before.



Video series 7.2.1 – Hitting the breaks by punching the air

The exercise in this series of videos (videos 7.2.1 to 7.2.4) is to feel a break in the music as it approaches (without counting). Then punch the air on the accented beat, which starts the break, usually a count 1 or a count 5. Match the intensity of your punch to the intensity of the accented beat.

 

Video series 7.2.2 – Hitting the breaks by punching the air

 

Video series 7.2.3 – Hitting the breaks by punching the air

 

Video series 7.2.4 – Hitting the breaks by punching the air



Video 7.3“Happy” by Pharrell Williams

Examples of personal style in dance or, as I like to put it, making a dance your own.

 

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Credit for photo below the header of a drummer: Bill Gracey

Copyright © 2017  James Joseph. All rights reserved.

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