Not a Subscriber?

Join 17,000+ social dancers getting practical tips and resources every week to level up outside of class.

How to Find the Beat in Salsa Music (Free Video Course)

(Full course outline below)

Finding the Beat (FTB) is a free youtube course that’s helped thousands of new salsa dancers get past their #1 problem: how to find the beat in salsa music.

If it helps you, please share it with your friends!

Although designed for salsa dancers, because salsa music is the most complex, these lessons will help you find the beat in ANY type of music.

I’ve broken down the process into 4 logical steps:

  1. Counting non-salsa music (easy music)
  2. Moving to non-salsa music
  3. Counting salsa music (more complex)
  4. Moving to salsa music

By the end of this course you’ll be able to…

  • Understand the structure of music
  • Count music
  • Hear the beat in salsa music
  • Find the 1 in salsa music
  • Stay on time while dancing salsa with much higher success

Here’s the Finding the Beat youtube playlist and you can find the entire course outline below.

At the end of each video you’ll also have a link to watch the next video.

1. Counting Non-Salsa Music

The goal here is to learn how to find the 1 beat by learning basic music vocabulary and how to hear the speed of a song (tempo).

FTB 1.1 – Why it’s hard to count salsa music (and anyone can do it)

FTB 1.2 – Music vocabulary all dancers need to know (beats, bars, phrases)

FTB 1.3 – Music vocabulary for dancers continued (visual and audio examples)

FTB 1.4 – Hearing the tempo of a song (12 song examples)

FTB 1.5 – How to know if you’ve find the beat of a song (BPM challenge!) 

FTB 1.6 – Using phrasing to find the 1 in dance music (Promises – Calvin Harris)

FTB 1.7 – Using phrasing to find the 1 in R&B (Maria Maria – Santana)

FTB 1.8 – Finding the 1 in R&B/soul, another example (Never Too Much – Luther Vandross)

FTB 1.9 – Finding the 1 in hip hop music (Still D.R.E – Dr. Dre)

2. Moving to Non-Salsa Music

The goal is to start creating mind-muscle connections, so you can react to the music you hear.

FTB 2.0 – Intro: 3 tips to get started

FTB 2.1 – Practice moving your body (follow me!)

FTB 2.2 – Two moves you can do to any music (bounce and rock)

FTB 2.3 – Practice dancing on beat: the bounce, rock and 2-step

FTB 2.4 – Learn to find the beat by dancing like an idiot (follow me!)

FTB 2.5 – Practice dancing on beat: fill in the beats game

3. Counting Salsa Music

Now that you can count simple music and are getting used to moving your body to it, it’s time to learn to count more complex music and dive into salsa.

FTB 3.0 – Intro: 3 tips to get started counting salsa music

FTB 3.1 – Salsa beat machine: salsa instruments that help you find the 1

FTB 3.2 – Salsa beat machine tips: how to understand salsa music faster

FTB 3.3 – How to find the 1 in salsa music (La Llave – Grupo Latin Vibe)

FTB 3.4 – Using phrasing to find the 1 in salsa music (Caminando – La Excelencia)

FTB 3.5 – Salsa music has structure! (Ay Mi Maria – Bloque 53)

FTB 3.6 – Salsa song intro breakdown and using call & response to find the 1 (Nabori – Lucky 7 Mambo)

FTB 3.7 – How to find the 1 in cuban salsa/timba music (Hermano – El Timba)

FTB 3.8 – Song breakdown (Mambo Diablo – Tito Puente)

4. Moving to Salsa Music

Congratulations! You’ve made it so far. Now that you can count salsa music and find the 1, let’s practice moving to it.

Note: in all the videos below we’re dancing salsa on 1, since it’s the most common timing beginners learn (yes, this depends on where you live). I added a few videos at the very end dancing on 2.

FTB 4.1 – Intro: tips for dancing to salsa music

FTB 4.2 – Fill in the beats: salsa basics on 1 (Caminando – La Excelencia)

FTB 4.3 – Salsa basics on 1: slow song (Ay Mi Maria – Bloque 53)

FTB 4.4 – Salsa basics on 1 practice (Nabori – Lucky 7 Mambo)

FTB 4.5 – Salsa basics on 1 to timba music (Hermano – El Timba)

FTB 4.6 – Salsa basics on 1 practice (Mambo Diablo – Tito Puente)

FTB 4.7 – Find the beat in this slow salsa song (I Like to Mambo – Kevin Davis)

FTB 4.8 – Find the beat and stay on it (Picoteando Por Ahi – Henry Fiol)

FTB 4.9 – Can you stay on beat for this whole song? (Asi Vivo Yo – Orquesta Colon)

FTB 4.10 – Salsa basics on 1 practice: time to get groovy (Tiahuanaco – Alfredo Linares)

FTB 4.11 – Can you stay on beat to this popular timba song? (Abre Que Voy – Miguel Enriquez)

Dancing salsa on 2

Bonus – Salsa timing practice on 2: dancing to the conga

Bonus – Salsa on 2 basics and timing practice (I Like to Mambo – Kevin Davis)

Want to Learn More?

Try our online salsa and bachata programs free for a whole week. No credit card needed.


7 Salsa Basic Moves for Beginners

How to Improve Your Basic Step On1 & On2

How to Practice Without a Partner

How to Remember Moves

How to improve your salsa basic step dance dojo