sets of 8

Where to learn: how to hear the beat of music

You will not find a class on hearing the beat of music (if you teach a class in that, throw me an email, we should talk). It’s rarely touched upon in ballroom dance classes. You must learn the beat on your own. Don’t fret, it’s simple, just listen to music (like with an iPod or […]

Read the full article →

Warning: Ballroom dance classes do not teach how to hear the beat of music

You will not learn “rhythm” in a ballroom class. The convenient explanation is that they’re dance classes and not music classes, but I’m not buying it. My guess is that dance instructors don’t really know how to teach you to count music and hear the beat. The only time you hear beats counted—counting the “sets […]

Read the full article →

7 ways to practice ballroom dancing using an iPod, etc.

I propose: you can learn to ballroom dance lying poolside, with a cold drink in hand, listening to an iPod. Seriously, you can learn a lot by actively listening to music—alone, by yourself. You can also do this standing on line at the post office, working out at the gym, commuting to work, listening to […]

Read the full article →

What everybody needs to know about which beat of music to start a dance

I used to struggle with when to start a dance. I would stand stiff and motionless, like a statue, with my partner in hand, stressing over when to take the first step. I didn’t know when to break into the music. I didn’t know if it mattered. I could hear spots in the music that […]

Read the full article →

Counting 32-beat major phrases (video: 6 min, 40 sec.)

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 […]

Read the full article →

New videos – how to count music and hear the beat

I’ve posted some new instructional video clips in recent weeks. (They’re the videos that go with the book so they’re also posted on the Freebie Video page.) The two below help with how to count music and hear the beat. First, there’s counting sets of 8: I’d guess that over 80% (probably over 90%–I don’t […]

Read the full article →

Not all music is dance music

Not all music is dance music, although most popular music is danceable. Dance music varies in difficulty so some music is better for dancing than other music, which is, in part, a personal preference. But some music is just not danceable. The jazz music of Count Basie, known as swing, is usually good dance music […]

Read the full article →

Sets of 8: test yourself on how to count music and hear the beat

Here’s a good test to see if you can count music and hear the beat by counting sets of 8. Flip the radio dial, stop on random songs and accurately count the sets of 8 and know you’re right. It took me about a year of dedicated practice before I could do that 90% of […]

Read the full article →

3 Steps to Fred Astairedom

Instead of stumbling through seven years of beginner’s classes, if only I had stumbled upon a teacher who could relate to me, a guy with no talent in music or dance. If only this teacher had said to me, “Listen, man, there are things you can do before you step into your first dance class […]

Read the full article →