Exploring the 4-Count Beat
How to Change Speed

What lets the musicians and dancers jive together?

Almost all our western style music is based on a 4-Count Beat. Musicians and dancers keep this magical beat together. What would happen if everyone played to his own beat? Chaos is the answer.

Students sit down, and listen to a piece of music. Ask if the they can make out the beat. “Can you hear it?” Each song has an underlying pulse that marks the time and rate for all other instruments to follow along. Just like an instrument, dancers recognize the beat of the song and step harmoniously to this rhythm.

You can explain the 4 speeds of the 4 Count-Beat with below chart:

The students follow the lead of the Educator clapping to the beat of the music (4 counts) then half speed (2 counts) and super slow (1 count) and super fast (8 counts.)

Then we get up and practice to step on each count. 1,2,3,4, and again 1,2,3,4. We learn to slow down and step only every second beat. Dancers step on 1 & 3 of the 4 beats. To slow it down even further, we step only on the 1st beat of every 4 beat segment. And last we learn how to dance with ‘super-speed’. That’s when we make 2 steps for every beat of the music.

After we have practiced these 4 speeds of the beat individually, we are ready to learn to change from one speed to the other at any moment. You can call out the counts, and or use visual aides like the chart or flash cards.

You can incorporate other MUVE lessons like BODYPARTS, OPPOSITES and MOTIONS. Students could shrug their shoulders to the 4 count or clap high and low to the 2 Count. Students could slowly kick to the 1 count then change to fast 8-count kicks.

After the group has shared several different ways to move with the 4-Count Beat, we are ready to incorporate what we have learned into a Dancing Game.

Remind students to respect each other with our words and actions (CARE Principles.)

Remember the 3 Levels as you choose the Dancing Games (MDGs) for your session.

Principle of the Day

Listen to the

Take a break from dancing and talk about

• How does music make you feel?
• Does music make exercising more fun?
• Can it help your body and mind be more healthy?

Sample Videos for Lesson BODYPARTS

We learned

  • That musicians and dancers share a common beat that keeps them in sync
  • How to hold the beat in specific body parts or with specific motions
  • How we can vary our own speed and still stay within the rhythm of the music
  • How music can help us to stay healthy and well

Hawaii Content and Performance Standards for the Rhythm & 4-Count Beat Lesson

Each MUVE Lesson has been created to include Hawaii Content & Performance Standards, enabling teachers to use selected benchmarks to plan a standards-based instruction for a Physical Education or Fine Arts lesson.

Click here to see the Educational Benchmarks for the Rhythm & 4-Count Beat Lesson