The Jungle Body Club

Understanding The Beat - Back to Basics

Mastering the beat is a fundamental part of dancing. As a Jungle Body instructor, being able to stay on beat is crucial for a good class. However, staying on beat can be challenging sometimes. Here are some tips and information to help you improve your beat counting skills and avoid getting lost in the music.

  • Beat is the pulse of the music. 
  • Most of the time it is how we put our songs to the music.
  • The beat is steady– it doesn’t change.
  • Some Jungle Body routines are simply beat driven (you can put the four steps anywhere, in any order, at any time, and it won’t feel strange or have bad flow)
  1. Practice counting the beat

Counting the beats in the music is an effective way to understand the rhythm and timing of the music. It also helps you to keep track of the music and match your movements to the rhythm of the music. Depending on the music, there can be a lot going on or very little going on, which makes the process tough. But once you get it, it’ll become second nature. If you do not naturally get it, you MUST practise every day counting the beat to all music you hear. Practicing regularly will help you develop a sense of rhythm and timing, and you'll soon find it easier to stay on beat.

Regular practice is essential for understanding the beat in dance. Practice different dance routines to different types of music. This will help you to develop a better sense of timing and improve your dance skills. If you get out of beat when you are teaching, it is important to go back to a basic step (like a side step) until you find yourself on beat again. You do not EVER want to just stay off beat and continue the routine.

Count out loud. Once you have identified the beat, count out loud along with the music. Start with simple rhythms, such as counting to four or counting to eight, depending on the time signature of the song.  The first few minutes of this video is going to give you a great understanding visually on counting the beat.

  1. Focus on the percussion instruments

The beat of the music is established by the percussion instruments, like drums. In general, don’t get distracted by lyrics. While lyrics can add an emotional or storytelling aspect to the music, they don't always line up with the beat. Instead, focus on the rhythm section of the music, and listen for the instruments that are keeping time.

  1. Pay attention to the vocals

Sometimes vocals line up nicely with the sets of 8, sometimes not. Sometimes the accent on the count 1 is an accented vocal, sometimes not. While the vocals may not always line up perfectly with the beat, they can still be helpful in keeping you on track. Listen for vocal cues that signal a change in the music, and use them as a guide to stay on beat.

In conclusion, staying on beat is an essential skill for any dancer, and it takes practice and patience to master. By focusing on the percussion instruments, paying attention to the vocals, and practicing regularly, you can improve your beat counting skills and become a better dancer. Remember, if you do lose the beat, don't be afraid to go back to basics and start again. With time and practice, staying on beat will become second nature.

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