Monday, March 24, 2008

Do Your Instructors Respect the Music?

Edie the Salsa Freak pulls me aside and firmly says, "Don, don't stop the music like that... let the song finish or fade it out." Eric Ellis (a great jazz instructor at Millennium) walks over to the sound system and dances another 10 seconds until a musical phrase ends. If the singer is singing her most emotional phrases or the soloist is blasting away, he'll dance in place and enjoy the moment before stopping the song.

The hip-hop teachers dance their way to the sound system, singing the lyrics and playfully marking sounds in the music, stretching their dance as needed to hit the phrase endings before killing the music between exercises.

Observing teachers a few years, I've noticed the more the instructors know and respect the music, the less likely they are to stop it until a phrase ends. The better ones are consistent with this behavior.

They are listening to the music, they respect the music and they don't want to interrupt until a logical break point. You'd think they were in a live conversion, being polite and waiting for an appropriate opening rather than interrupt their friend.

People who love music find it almost rude for someone to stop the music in the middle of a phrase. When I see them waiting for a good stopping point, I simply smile and note that these teachers are in tune with the music, and that's a great sign for their students.

Let me know if this behavior is happening in your scene.

No one will ever win the battle of the sexes;
there's too much fraternizing with the enemy.
-- Henry Kissinger


  1. The music is absolutely essential to middle eastern dance. The dancer's entire purpose is to represent the music visually.

    Specifically, my own teacher only changes what we are doing in class when the music changes. we follow very closely to the music.

  2. Hi Don,

    Sorry to post Anonymously, but I haven't had time to choose an identity. I love reading your blog -- thank you so much -- and, while I have it linked into my Google Reader, I haven't figured out how to have comments from your blog show up as well. One of the other blogs I track -- -- has a separate link to click for its Comments RSS. I'm hoping that you or one of your many readers will be able to post on how I can set that up for your blog, as there are several good discussions within your comments sections (and I wouldn't want to miss any that develop in response to older posts). Again, thanks for sharing your developing thoughts.


  3. Katherine,

    Hopefully someone will post an answer and I'll see what I can find. There should be a way since Blogger is owned by Google.

    I appreciate the feedback! And let me know if you find something before I do.


  4. That's a wonderful realisation! I've never really thought about it!

    If someone really loves and respects the music, I think it would be difficult to just stop the music in the midst of a phrase. I know I do find it quite jarring and mildly distressing when someone just stops music (which I enjoy) abruptly.

    I'm sure many people when listening to music in the car, when they reach their destination, wait for the end of the musical phrase before turning off the car... I know I do! :)


I love feedback. Your thoughts, feelings and comments are appreciated. Civil disagreements and other points of view are always welcomed!

Feel free to send me private mail if appropriate.

Don Baarns - Unlikely Salsero