We’re glad you asked! First of all, everyone has rhythm. Your heart beats. Your breath can quicken or slow. There’s even a cadence in the way you walk and brush your teeth. You already have rhythm. You just have to learn to listen for it. Learning to listen for rhythm is really just learning to recognize the regular patterning of beats within music. All it takes is a little awareness, practice, and self confidence!
Not convinced? We’ve got a couple of experiments for you.
1. Get out your Spotify (or your vinyl collection or whatever). Listen to some songs with a very apparent, regular beat. Here's a few examples:
"The Walker," by Fitz and the Tantrums
"Can't Take My Eyes Off You," by Franki Valli
"Happy," by Pharrell Williams
In all of the songs suggested above, the beat is played primarily through the percussion section; listen to the cymbal & drum hits. Practice nodding your head or tapping your toe to the beat. Notice how your movements are in sync with the sound.
2. Listen to different genres of music and think about what makes them feel different. We've listed some representative songs from a few genres as a start:
In all of these songs, think about the presence of the beat, and how it's being played. Is the beat very obvious? Which instruments do hear the playing the beat? Is the beat very even, or does it shift as the song continues?
Don't become discouraged if you find this challenging. Learning to hear the rhythm of the music is like learning a new language (except A LOT easier). It’s going to take a little time and dedication to become fluent. Trust us. You can absolutely learn.
Okay! So you’re convinced you have rhythm, but how do you apply your new understanding of rhythm to learning a first wedding dance? We strongly recommend learning from a professional dance instructor. See our future post about choosing a dance instructor. Once you’ve selected an dance instructor to help you with your first wedding dance, be up front about your reservations. Do you still need assistance in how to find a beat? Are you unsure how to move your body in relation to the accents of the music? It's okay! That's why dance instructors have jobs. Make us earn our living!