If you have or had trouble with Tango music, I want to hear about it!

Story | Opinion | Chrisa Assis | 18 Apr 2018 | 3 comments

Hello everyone,
This is a different kind of post. Usually I am writing to provide answers, but today I am writing to ask a question.

Over my years of teaching many people have come to me with some problem related to the music.
They would say things like:
* I can’t hear the beat
* It just sounds like a bunch of instruments making sound
* I can’t feel the music
* I get lost in the melody
* I can’t find the rhythm… etc

These are all very different problems, with a neurological base, there are people who can’t hear the rhythm, or the tone or the melody. There also people who can cognitively “get” the music but they can’t emotionally relate to it and vice versa.
The simplistic advice: “Give yourself time. Listen to a lot of music and have in mind that everyone hears music differently” Just doesn’t work.

So basically I want to find out what can possibly work… And this is where you come in.

If you have/ had trouble with the music could you possibly share your story in details..?
What is it you are having trouble with, what makes it worse and what makes it better?
Was it only Tango or have you had trouble in other dances/ activities?
Anything that you really can’t make sense of, an example of that would be, Che Guevara could not really tell a mambo from tango but yet he played the guitar..how..?
And anything else you find relevant.

Looking forward to hearing your story!

Thank you in advance for sharing,

P.S: If you don’t want to share publicly, you can send me a personal message or an email at chrisa.assis@bautanz.com


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Published: 18 Apr 2018 @ 12:22


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Andrew Ryser commented:

I haven’t noticed this problem with my students, but I certainly notice it frequently elsewhere. When I was doing my apprenticeship as tango instructor I had in my care 3 professional musicians. They admitted more than once that they didn’t listen to the music because they were constantly concentrating on their steps. They have been doing tango for a few weeks. This was some 25 years ago & got me thinking. After a few years, including courses in Anatomy & Physiology &c, I realised that if you start your beginners by teaching them step sequences [Salida &c] they will eventually and quite quickly develop a reflex which makes them ignore the music: the brain is wired in such a way that it cannot process new data in different fields at the same time, & develops reflexes that deal with that; these reflexes then become almost irredeemably permanent. In tango the music guides the improvised movement, it is at the forefront, before movement. So I devised a method for my beginners to move according to this principle, before any actual dancing takes place. They simply have to walk individually to the music, with no ornamentation allowed, but expressing in their walking the feeling [not the beat, that’s too moronic] of the music. Best for this is Verano porteno because it’s long enough [6 min] to get them accustomed to the approach, and then contrasted with Golden Age stuff [more difficult]. But it doesn’t have to be tango music, as long as it has different moods, variable tempi & intensities & voices, forcing the brain to pay attention. “Bella figlia dell’amore” [Rigoletto] is another good example. This only needs to take place at the beginning of the first few lessons, about 15min each time, to ensure that the ears of the novices don’t get blocked for good. After this intro, the basics of the dancing can be worked on, usually in silence, to develop extended proprioception, eventually bringing the music back in towards the end of the lesson. The reason most tango dancers don’t follow the music is because they have been initially taught steps, with D’Arienzo plinky plonking in the background, thereby consolidating this numbing reflex. – Read
Comment | Andrew Ryser | 18 Apr 2018

Wadim Shurupov responded:

There are problems with music and how to solve them so far l do not understand. – Read
Comment | Wadim Shurupov | 19 Apr 2018

Chrisa Assis (Author) responded:

Hi Andrew, This is extremely interesting I have noticed exactly the same thing. It is not that people are not following the music, it is more like the music is not even there… Your comment has sparked a lot of questions, would like to chat through Skype or facebook-call to make things a bit easier for both..? – Read
Comment | Chrisa Assis | 19 Apr 2018
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