If you are having troubles with timing, then this might be just the thing you need.
Much music comes is sets of two. There might be four beats to the bar, but there is usually a two beat pattern in there too. This excludes the Waltz.
Often the first beat (the downbeat) is stronger and deeper. Then the second (the upbeat) is often lighter and of a higher pitch.
Because this is a simple two beat pattern, it is often easier for those of us who are not strong with timing to pick it up. I wish I had have known about this when I was trying to work on my timing.
The reason why it is called the downbeat is because it occurs with a conductor moving his hand down. This downward motion is a stringer motion than lifting the hand so the beat can be thought of as a stronger (usually) beat.
I was introduced to this method of timing in dance by James Joseph in his book Every Man’s Survival Guide to Ballroom Dancing.
James likens the down beat to stopping your foot and the upbeat to clapping your hand.
If you are trying to work your timing for better dance, then try imagining how you would stomp and clap with the music. This is just a start, but it can be a huge start if you have trouble with timing.
Staring with just two beats is practically a guaranteed way for anyone (and trust me; I know how bad timing can be) to start to pick up on timing.
James’s book is aimed at ben, but it is ideal for beginners of any gender (despite the name) taking on partner dancing. It has a strong focus on musicality and learning. Not to mention some advice on posture and getting the confidence to dance at weddings.
If you’re looking for a unique and useful approach to learning dance, then I reckon James’ Every Man’s Survival Guide to Ballroom Dancing is an excellent buy.
Check out the video below if you're still struggling with the upbeat and downbeat.
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