Ballroom Dance > Listening to the beat help needed

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by SexyMan2Cha, Nov 17, 2005.

  1. SexyMan2Cha

    SexyMan2Cha New Member

    Hi all,

    I'm a struggling student and my teacher has grown pretty frustrated with over a bunch of things, I'm not making progress. One of my problems is "hearing the beat". I know there's been threads about this before but can't really find what I'm looking for. I'll typically hear the 1 beat and sometimes the 4, but the 2 and 3, I barely ever hear. My teacher told me to listen for a consistent beat in the background. I have trouble filtering out everything else and just listening to the beat.

    If you used to have trouble hearing the beat, what were some useful things you did to help this? (Other then listening to music). We're (were it seems now) working on rumba and cha.

  2. Another Elizabeth

    Another Elizabeth Active Member

    You will feel like a goof, but it helps to clap to the beat, instead of just listening for it. Getting used to doing something to move your body with the beat will make it easier to do in in practice (and also will allow your partner and/or your friends to critique you, instead of paying an instructor to tell you you're off-time).
  3. SexyMan2Cha

    SexyMan2Cha New Member

    lol, and I've been doing too much of that lately.
  4. Ms_Sunlight

    Ms_Sunlight New Member

    Another Elizabeth is right.

    Get yourself a simple percussion instrument if you like -- a music store will sell you a small hand drum or wood sticks or maracas or a triangle very cheaply -- or just use your hands. Put on some simple music. Clap to the beat.

    If you're trying to find the beat and dance at the same time, that's a lot to take in at once. Try finding your rhythm without multitasking it with moves. It's just a case of practice. Besides, it can be quite good fun being your own percussion section!
  5. tanya_the_dancer

    tanya_the_dancer Well-Known Member

    I used to have same problem, and my teacher suggested to listen to the music as much as possible, like play it in the car when I am driving (I had a long commute back then, so I would spend 3 hours a day in the car) and try to tap the steering wheel to the beat. It really helped, because now I can actually find the beat on my own. It is still not the easiest thing, but at least it is doable.
  6. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

    Yup listen to music all the time. I still have difficulty starting from a standstill...BUT...if I move my body to it I slip into the right groove.
  7. Twilight_Elena

    Twilight_Elena Well-Known Member

    Listen to A LOT of music.
    Also, I've noticed that people who have musical background (playing an instrument) find it much easier to hear the beats. Have you thought of taking up a musical instrument? It's a long-term solution, but if worst comes to worst...

    Twilight Elena
  8. Medira

    Medira New Member

    Try tapping your foot to the beat when listening to the elevator music in a waiting room or tapping your hands on the handle of a shopping cart when walking down the aisle of the grocery store. There's music pretty much everywhere you go, most people just tune it out though.
  9. chomsky

    chomsky Well-Known Member

    I'm reviving this thread with the hope I find someone in the same spot as me.
    I have a musical background as a singer. Never ever had problems with the beat.
    I do now!
    I easily lose the beat; I'm always so stressed, my mind's off the music, I can't listen to the music nor to my teacher's instructions, or his counting. I'm just somewhere else, me and myself, my angry and frustrated self.
    Has it ever happened to anyone else, or am I THE FREAK IN TOWN?
  10. Gorme

    Gorme Active Member

    I don't have a musical background, but I do easily get distracted from the beat. It depends on what I'm thinking about at that moment, so the way I go about it is to separate out the music from the actions. The more comfortable I get with the actions and movement, the more of my brain can be focused on listening to the music. I spend most of the practice session without the music and towards the end, put on music and dance away.
  11. Active Member

    I find that it helps when I introduce rhythm with just the percussions to the beginners and then slowly switching to one with a very light music where the percussions can still be heard clear and loud and then finally to the 'normal' music.
  12. latingal

    latingal Well-Known Member

    chomsky, this happens to the majority of people I've talked with who I've gone through ballroom training with. We all get so wrapped up in what we're trying to do, how to do it correctly, and how darn fast we "know" the music is, we lose the music and our natural body rhythms.

    It's unfortunately part of the process - believe it or not - for many of us; you train the heck out of your body until you can no longer do anything naturally to any music (except for using it as a metronome at best), and then they try to stuff us back in to the music and move with this newly embedded "natural" movement. *nggggh* And they wonder why we're all neurotic. LOL!
  13. debmc

    debmc Well-Known Member

    Things can get confusing dancing in a studio. Since the pro can't monopolize the music often dancing is done to counts, which to me me are hard to translate to the actual music playing. Also there may be music playing for another couple...and we are doing a completely different style of dance, so I get used to tuning the studio music out. I have become a big advocate in wanting to do rounds to actual music especially when comps are approaching. Nothing is more effective to me in learning how to dance on time to music, than to actually dance on time to music!
  14. chomsky

    chomsky Well-Known Member

    this was a revelation...I may now consider myself less of a madcase as my own teacher wouldn't get it...many thanks for sharing your experience with me.
  15. chomsky

    chomsky Well-Known Member

    How very interesting, I never had such experience...
  16. chomsky

    chomsky Well-Known Member

    in my case I panick, speed up and want to freeze; i'm so neurotic I just want to go home. Thank god,after a while I calm down cos I know I made such a bad impression nothing worse can happen. TThen I can enjoy the music once again and feel the rythm. Of cource,in the meantime, whoever I'm dancing with,had the experience of me speeding up...
  17. chomsky

    chomsky Well-Known Member

    Silly thing is, now that my dancing has improved I started panicking with the people I never had problems before...I'm becoming nervous with people that always helped me unwind...I need my therapist...
  18. govnu

    govnu Member

    Just focus on beat practice

    For my past experience, just focusing on beat and basic figures can strengthen the dancer's ability to eliminate the off beat issue. In other words, don't worry about the other techniques temporarily , such as hip movement, or hand movement for the time being.

    For example, referring to the original thread's dances Rumba and Chachacha, just practice the figure Basic Movement and master the technique how to handle a step with one beat, half beat and double beat. Don't worry about Hip Movement, Arm Position, Amount of Turn etc. The one and only one is beat.

    With a strong beat matching ability, it will accelerate us to learn other advanced figures
  19. mindputtee

    mindputtee Well-Known Member

    I find what helps me stay on beat is to breath through the measure. I take a breath in for one whole measure and out for the next. It keeps my body's natural rhythm with my breathing and with the measures without having to think about it as much. It especially helps in waltz, and I had to suggest it to my partner cause he had a tendency to turn blue from not breathing because he was thinking too much.
  20. Partner Dancer

    Partner Dancer Well-Known Member

    Unfortunately, as a follow, one is at the mercy of a leader, as it's not unusual for leaders to be off-beat or off-time.

    Because you indicate that you don't have problems hearing the beat while relaxed and not moving, it's obviously the dance movements that are confusing your brain. Consequently, simply trying to "hear" better is probably less productive than learning to move better at different rates. Most dancers, including advanced dancers who have not spent time smoothing their movements, are subject to getting "there" too early or too late, and it's only when they figure out how to use their body parts to use up or catch up to time that the "hearing" improves. For instance, stiff or overly loose hips are apt to throw off one's timing and balance. Even trying to breathe to the beat rather than just naturally will likely hurt more than help, as, say at 120 bpm or 1/2 second a step or count, one is likely to hyperventilate.

    That said, keeping a metronome in one's head, perhaps even verbalizing quietly, is a vital skill, and most advanced dancers should be able to turn this on at will, especially when dancing with a partner that involuntarily drifts beat-wise (although followers won't be able to do much about it).

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