How to Keep Time to Music and Develop your Sense of Rhythm

How to Keep Time to Music and Develop your Sense of Rhythm

 How to Keep Time to Music and Develop your Sense of Rhythm at your local New Jersey Dance  Studio in Kenilworth NJ

There is a mistaken impression that learning to keep time to music is difficult.  This unfortunate belief that one has “no sense of rhythm” keeps many people from enjoying the pleasures of dancing. If you can march to band music, if your foot can beat time to ordinary dance music, you have well enough sense of rhythm to enjoy dancing. Everyone was born with a sense of rhythm. Nine out of ten good dancers do not know one note from another, but they can keep time. Knowledge of music is not necessary in order to keep time to music.

If You Can Carry a Tune

If you can sing, hum, or whistle a tune- any tune, whether it is a popular dance number, a nursery lullaby or “Yankee Doodle”- then you have already proved that you have sufficient rhythm to become good dancer.

If You Can’t Carry a Tune

If, however, you have difficulty in following a tune- remember, it is not the high notes in a piece of music that determine the dance. It is tempo-the rhythm of music.

If you are standing at the curb when a parade band passes by, you automatically feel the beat and tempo of the march being played. The “oompah-oompah” of the big brass horns and the “boom, boom, boom, boom-boom-boom” of the big bass drum arouses in you a regular, rhythmic pulse. Your muscles automatically get ready to swing you off in perfect step with the rest of the parade!

The same principle is true of dance music. When you hear a popular song played on the radio, you cannot help feeling the underlying tempo, or beat, or the music. If an orchestra is playing, this beat is usually carried by the bass drum. As you listen, shut your eyes and visualize the drummer’s foot working the pedal of the drum. At each beat his foot goes down, and soft “boom” accents the tempo.

These accented or “boom” beats are all you need for dancing. To make sure that you recognize them (if there still is any question in your mind), do these two things:

  1. Seat yourself in a chair—and either hum or whistle a tune, or turn on the radio. As the music plays, imagine you are the drummer and simply beat time with your foot on the floor, as though you were hitting the pedal of the bass drum. Tap your hand on the chair arm in time with the music’s beat too. Keep this up until you can successfully beat time with either hand or foot.
  2. After you have learned to beat time, walk around the room, taking one step to each beat. If you find this a little difficult at first, try it again. Walk in time with the beat of three or four songs. In a surprisingly short while you will find your feet” carrying the tune.”

And that’s all there is to keeping time with the music!

Reference: “How to Become a Good Dancer” by Arthur Murray

Melanie AMK


Arthur Murray Kenilworth is conveniently located on the Boulevard in Kenilworth, which is just minutes away from Clark, Cranford, Garwood, New Providence, Scotch Plains, Short Hills, Milburn and Westfield, New Jersey

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