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  1. #1
    V.I.P. Jane's Avatar
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    Default Help me help my student

    Help help help!

    I have a wonderful and sweet lady who has been my student for two years now. I'm having terrible trouble getting her to make a connection to the music. Any connection. She can't find the beat. I encourage her to listen to music when she's not in class. I turn the bass all the way up and we clap together, I count with and for her, but she can't find the beat by herself. She does okay when she dances with someone else, but can't dance alone and rushes thorough the music like its not there. At first I thought she might just be nervous, but it's been two years. She's had her hearing checked out already, so it's not that either. I'm at my wits end! Any ideas or possible explinations would be greatly appriciated! I feel really bad.

  2. #2
    V.I.P. karena's Avatar
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    I'm a musician so the not finding the beat thing mystifies me; I can't not hear the beat, even if I try. So I have given much thought to this issue, still in progress at the moment. My latest idea (this is all in my head, but it has been occupying alot of my head recently, seriously too much) is what happens if you try to get someone who can't hear the beat to consciously make an effort to dance against the beat. Not just think they are dancing to the beat and doing it 'wrong', but really make an effort to not hit any beat.

    My theory is that is comes down to believing they can't hear the beat. And they have thought for so long they can't, that eventually they can't as their mind is all caught up in believing that. They can't just switch out of it as they have programmed their mind to do this (not consciously just through reiteration). Dancing deliberately against the beat actually requires hearing the beat, but without communicating that directly to the mind. So the mind might forget it 'can't' hear the beat, and actually start to hear it, and then it's only one stage away from then hearing it to use it rather than hearing it to not use it. Hope that makes sense.

    Might be utter nonsense, but would love to hear thoughts on it from people who 'can't' hear the beat.

  3. #3
    V.I.P. Lydia's Avatar
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    did you try this , on a time when nobody is in class,put music on that she is familair with ,any music,to imagion that she is in a party and to clap on it...not nessecary arabic music ,but any music she likes....just do that and see if she can pick it up,make sure she is relaxed just sit whit her and move and clap even let her close her eye,s so she can feel it,make sure nobody is there just you and her , START WITH A SLOW EASY BEAT i have students like that and by going easy and keep on encouraging them they slowly become better,for some people it just comes easy for some it takes time...did you hear people say,,she just dont have rithme? i think that is what they than mean,...sorry for my clumsy english just woke up LOL,goodluck with this lady if she is still with you after 2 years like this ,you must tressure her,have a nice day Lydia

  4. #4
    Member Jahzaal's Avatar
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    Default What's their favorite song?

    I agree with Lydia. There are a few people I know that just can't seem to get it. I always ask what their favorite song is. Then I work the song into the music by singing it, as well as dancing the moves. It always works. Good Luck
    Last edited by Jahzaal; 04-10-2008 at 01:29 PM.

  5. #5
    Member Jahzaal's Avatar
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    Default What's their favorite song?

    My comment posted twice
    Last edited by Jahzaal; 04-10-2008 at 01:27 PM. Reason: sorry my computer timed out.

  6. #6
    Senior Member sedoniaraqs's Avatar
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    I think there are a very few people who truly do not have any sense of rhythm.

    In these cases, I don't think there is any way to train into them what is not inherent. I have only experienced one student like this in my life as a dancer. I worked with her in private lessons. We stomped the ground together. We drummed our tummies. We clapped and snapped our fingers. I loaned her a tambourine. I tried just percussive music, western music, nothing helped. She showed no improvement over a number of months of weekly classes supplemented with private lessons, even though I know she was trying hard and practicing at home. She moved quite nicely with fluid movements but her musicality was just about hopeless because she couldn't hear the beat.

    I talked to an acquaintance who was a drummer and he agreed that truly rhythm-less people are rare, and they generally do not get better no matter what kind of training they have.

    The phrase "he/she doesn't have any rhythm" gets misused alot. Most people who think they don't have rhythm really just haven't developed the coordination to do a certain kind of dancing or play a certain instrument. This, of course, can be rectified with training and practice.

    Sedonia

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    V.I.P. janaki's Avatar
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    Default Tips that are helping my students!!!

    Hi Jane,

    I hav few students with same problems in my class. The things I am doing to help them ( seems to be working so far) are...

    1. Listen to the clock's ticking sound when you are in the bed and relaxing. Say the ticking sound loudly. You can ask her to add a simple move like, tapping on the bed, contracting the stomach or anything that works in a lying position to the ticking. Working in their privacy and in a relaxed situtation helps them to understand the problem. Many of these students don't even know what the problem is. Not knowing the problems doesn't help to solve it. This excercise helps them to understand the problem.

    2. Metronome is a great tool to train also. You can vary they tempo of the beat. Start with counting loudly and tapping the feet and add other moves later on.

    3. Introduce a slow piece of music firstly with rhythm only (slow baladi, saidi or maksoum work good) and ask her to clap on the dums and then teks and dums and teks. Later you play simple rhythms like above with one intruments with a melody. Later you can introduce more textures in the meoldy. After clapping, introduce stepping and other moves. This slow and progessvie introduction is really heling my students.

    4. Play a piece of slow music with an even beat and make her count the beat loud and clap few times. When she is into it, take off the volume and let her keep clapping. Tburn the volume up after a while. She will then understand what is going on if she is off beat.

    Hope this helps.

    Cheers
    Janaki

  8. #8
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    I am wondering if she may have some hearing loss involved. I know deaf people can pick up the beat of music...Marlee Matlin is an example in dancing with the stars.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Marya's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jane View Post
    Help help help!

    I have a wonderful and sweet lady who has been my student for two years now. I'm having terrible trouble getting her to make a connection to the music. Any connection. She can't find the beat. I encourage her to listen to music when she's not in class. I turn the bass all the way up and we clap together, I count with and for her, but she can't find the beat by herself. She does okay when she dances with someone else, but can't dance alone and rushes thorough the music like its not there. At first I thought she might just be nervous, but it's been two years. She's had her hearing checked out already, so it's not that either. I'm at my wits end! Any ideas or possible explinations would be greatly appriciated! I feel really bad.
    Jane,

    I will use myself as an example since I am a lot like your student. I am still dancing after 15 years and my teacher says I am doing much better.

    You are doing everything right, just have patience. I couldn't dance by myself for 10 years. I have a wonderful friend I dance with in duets and she helped keep me on the beat. If you have student performances planned just put your student where she can see the other dancers and have the other dancers help her.

    Rhythms I could hear easily were 9/8 like Tamzara or American style Karshilamas. Odd meters seemed easier to "hear" than regular 4/4. I also use cues in the melody like a certain instrument or passage of music that can tell me if I am ahead of the beat or behind.

    I prefer to use the melody to help me interpret the music, hearing the beat is only critical if you are using a choreography, have you asked her to try improvising?

    I also started folkdancing which helped a lot. Being surrounded by lots of people all doing the same movements allowed me to absorb the rhythm unconsciously.

    It can be frustrating for the student too, especially if she feels deficient and other students criticize.

    Some teachers have given up on me and others have been helpful. I had one teacher tell me she thought most people had trouble hearing the beat and that was why she spent a lot of time with clapping and explanations of the meter. Hearing the beat easily is a talent, but those who can hear it easily don't understand how someone might not hear it.

    I think some people can fake it because they can count at a measured pace but they aren't necessarily "hearing" the beat

    Try not to give your student the impression she is disabled or deaf.

    After many years (15) of listening to music, dancing, dancing and dancing, I can actually hear the beat most of the time. I still do better with odd metered music.

    Just let her have fun, have patience and don't focus on what she can't do.

    Marya

  10. #10
    V.I.P. Moon's Avatar
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    There's no problem with her ears. Some people are just very talented with hearing the beat, some have to think first and some have trouble with it. I think it can be learned though, but it's probably easier when you start at a younger age.

    So far I've had 3 fellow students who had a lot of trouble hearing the beat. However, it got a little better after about 2 years. (The girls I'm talking about are in their early 20s)
    I do think the lady in your class will get better eventually but it might take a bit longer than for younger people maybe.
    The problem is the others are probably also getting better so it might not be very noticeable it's getting better. It could also be true what Karena says, that's she got stuck in this idea of "not being able to learn to hear the beat" so therefor she doesn't learn.

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