I’ve always said I could teach anyone to dance. Now, I’m not so sure.
I have a student who cannot hear the beat. More specifically, he can’t dance and hear the beat correctly at the same time. What’s worse, he seems to have even less rhythm now than when he started taking private lessons with me a year ago.
It’s getting very hard to teach him anything new, because each new element I introduce erodes his sense of timing even further. It’s impossible to dance through a three minute song on time unless I back lead him through the entire piece, which I don’t believe is good teaching.
I know it’s embarrassing for my student when I stop him after every few bars, but I feel I can’t ignore this most basic problem. My student has mentioned that he would like to compete someday, but that’s not even on the horizon right now.
He is a kind person, but I’m at my wits end. Please help me to help my student.
Frustrated in Colorado
Okay I am an that guy. Not the guy being taught to dance but the guy who is reading the questions from music and dance teachers all over the internet trying to figure out what I am missing and why I have no rhythm.
Here is the deal:
I think we (meaning people like me) hear music differently. For me I don’t hear the music in beats for the entire song. I am justnow realizing for the first time that the rhythm isn’t different for each note. Which appeared to be the case in basic music classes in grade school. When you’d hold “C” for for a whole note and then the next note for a half note etc…
As far as I can tell, every time a note or a chord changes we think the rhythm does too. Counting 1,2,3,4 is really distracting to us (and we hate it by the way) it gets in the way of the “rhythm” we think we are hearing that starts on the second note and again on the third one.
I don’t know if any of this helps you at all. I know that knowing this has not helped me play music any better. I will mention that the more I have learned about what rhythm really is, it is has made me worse trying to follow along with it. But I have only made these discoveries in the last few weeks.
PS my name isn’t really David 🙂