Some people are natural dancers. They hear the beat of some music and they seem to know exactly how to move their bodies perfectly in time. For others, it just doesn’t come as easily, and they may find themselves moving completely out of time. If you are in the latter group, you might be wondering if not being able to dance to a beat is something you are stuck with or if you can learn how to do it.
Dancing is a great way of getting that musical training to help with this issue because the training is doing just that – moving to the beat of the music. Look at this video of the Diamonds bachata team. It’s a great example of how every step and every move is designed to work perfectly with the beats of the music.
There has been a fair amount of scientific research on this subject, so we do have a good idea of the answer. And it seems like for most of us, yes, musical training (including dancing) can improve our ability to move to a beat. The scientists identified three main factors that affected how well people are able to move in time:
- short-term auditory memory
- beat sensitivity
- musical training
Importantly for people who don’t naturally have very good rhythm, the last factor – musical training – can actually improve the other two factors. So if you have musical training, your overall ability to move to the beat will get better. Which is great news! For most of us, that is. There is a very small portion of the population that this wouldn’t work for. These are the people with true “beat deafness“, and for these people, there seems to be something wrong with the way their internal clocks work which means that they are unable to move to a beat, even with musical training.
To sum up, if you feel like you’re truly “beat deaf”, you more than likely aren’t. And learning to dance (as well as other musical training) has been scientifically proven to help you become more of a natural at moving to a beat.
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