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  1. #11
    V.I.P. da Sage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by karena View Post
    Just had a bit of a lightbulb moment here re counting (for me anyway)!

    Don't know how this is even helpful to anyone, but I know it always makes me feel slightly unhappy when people dismiss counting completely, and I've now realised it's because people are seeing counting as artificial whereas I think it can just be a way of framing what others are doing too. So don't be hard on the counters!
    Yes! I often tap a foot on the "1" of a phrase, it is automatic, and I don't think it takes away from my experience or understanding of the music.

    Quote Originally Posted by karena View Post
    (Re missing the beat if you count, if I specifically count music (let's say I am playing in an orchestra and have to count my 10 bars rest) I count what the rest of the orchestra are doing. I don't put my fingers in my ears and count like a metronome. So those imperceptible variations are perceived.)
    This. The timing of the music continues as part of the music, not external. But stuff still happens "in time", even if the time takes longer.

    Quote Originally Posted by karena View Post
    (And re the changing time signatures in ME music, this happens in western music too. But you can still count. I've sat in orchestras and had to count my bars rest alternating between 3/4 and 4/4 before!)
    I'm not a great counter, so I usually can't count this sort of thing from the audience, but I can tell they're playing with the time signatures! And it's still on beat.

  2. #12
    V.I.P. Kashmir's Avatar
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    A couple of weeks in, I play my new students a maqsoum. I get them to step on the doms. Then I turn the music off and they continue to step "in time" - they aren't counting they have the beat inside themselves. I can't imagine doing it with counts - we are going to step on 1,2,3 and 5. And I don't think they would pick it up as fast.

  3. #13
    Administrator Salome's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jenc View Post
    I wholeheartedly agree with the above criticism, but do I need to learn to count to do it??
    It depends, some people can hear it, and don't need it broken down. For most people that takes time and exposure. But some people get it right off. If you are one of those people, then no, it's not necessary to count if you can already follow the speed of the music, anticipate accents, know when the melody will change etc.

    The point is to get to a place where you don't need to count to know where you and the music are, so I say go for it, use it if it helps you get to that place.

    I don't count when I dance. But I may use counting in other instances. For example, when I want to work with a new song, I sit down and count out verse and chorus, where and when an instrument, rhythm, vocal etc. I want to bring to the fore occurs... I also may use (the knowledge of it) when I need to talk to a musician about how his band does a particular arrangement or how I want my drum solo to be played and also I've used it as a teaching tool. So I still find it of use.

  4. #14
    V.I.P. jenc's Avatar
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    The criticism came when I was trying out a new step against music. Thanks for clarification everyone. I was thinking of counting as using numbers, which for me would involve double translation, to put the step and the rythmn into a count of 8. Howvwer it makes more sense if it is taking time to feel the rythmn.

  5. #15
    Super Moderator gisela's Avatar
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    I think it's a good skill to have and the optimal would be (maybe?) to be able to turn it on and off.

    Once I quit a teacher because she was shouting out 1! 2! 3! 4! etc over the music and often said that "this combination just have to be learnt, you can't hear it in the music" when I clearly could hear it. (The choreos were not her own though). This was quite awful and after a while I started to hear her voice shouting numbers in my head. Then I quit.

    That was waaaay to much counting for me but I think I would be lost if I couldn't count.
    Like someone said, when doing choreography, your own or someone else's it helps, and with a troupe it can be very helpful. Like this sunday I was performing with my troupe and we got a few minutes practice on stage before the show. We could figure out how far to go, how big steps, and where to be, without music, because we could count it.

    There has been some great answers in this thread and I have a bit of a new view on the counting thing thanks to f ex Karena and Kashmir
    immer glimmer

  6. #16
    Junior Member Nabila Nazem's Avatar
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    Karena, God bless you! So many folks dismiss counting --or indeed any formal music knowledge--as "artificial," and it drives me insane. It's great to have someone say it's actually an okay thing to do! I've had an extensive background in Western dance forms in an academic setting, and having had some basic music theory as part of my training has only helped me. For some reason, many people are threatened by music theory, thinking it won't make them "feel" the music or will undermine the musical sensibility they already have. I could not disagree more; the more I learn about rhythm and music, the better my "ear" gets and the more I trust my own inherent musicality. I feel music more deeply when I understand the nuts and bolts of it structurally, and this helps me to "let go."

    It drives me straight up a tree when I hear teachers say that the music is such an important part of this dance and that listening to it is the most important thing, and that you have to feel it and yada yada yada then (for example) can't answer the most basic question of what they're listening for in a specific passage. They say that "they don't want to confuse students with music theory." In my experience, two things confuse students:

    1) Bad information. As in just plain wrong. (i.e. counting a 10/8 in 4/4 and trying to make students learn it that way, etc.)

    2) Good information, very badly presented.

    I'm not saying all teachers need formal academic training; I've had some wonderfully musical teaching influences who haven't have a day of instruction. They have, however, had lengthy and quality exposure to good music from master teachers and musicians throughout their training and careers.

  7. #17
    Member SmilingMarie's Avatar
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    I agree with all the above - count the music but not the dance
    When I make choreos (for class) I have to count - and I find myself shouting 1-2-3-4 when teaching them. But I think is has to be this way - esp at first. Later, I try not to count (and not to shout so much!) as I want my students to find their own way of remembering the timing and combinations.
    But I am also a percussionist. And let me just say that when I started playing the darbouka it was like a new world opened to me when I listened (and danced) to the music - I thoroughly recommend a tabla/rhythm workshop to all dancers regardless of level!
    I also use rhythm exercises (walking + clapping) in my dance classes from time to time - and it is surprising how many people struggle with clapping on the off-beat whilst keeping the beat with their feet (excellent coordination exercise and great fun!).
    So it is not like you can't dance if you dont know the rhythms (their names, if they are 4/4 or 10/4 or whatever) but being able to find beat 1 consistently will take you a long way!
    Happy dancing!

  8. #18
    V.I.P. jenc's Avatar
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    Your exercises sound like fun. I would love to try that.

    I guess one of my difficulties is I'm probably not counting right. I mean an even 1-2-3-4 is for me hard to do when the rythmn has a structure of emphasis within that?

  9. #19
    Member SmilingMarie's Avatar
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    jenc,

    what can I say - bu practice practice practice you'll get it eventually!
    I know that you do have a few good percussionists over in the UK (I used to live there) and also dancers who could teaching basic rhythm training - it is great to invest time in attending a workshop or two for that AHA! moment later on
    happy clapping!

  10. #20
    V.I.P. karena's Avatar
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    Now if you'd come to JoY Jenc, there is a drumming workshop there every time. You know you wanna...

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