I like to post conversation starters in the iTapOnline Community to stimulate some conversation, but also to get everyone sharing and crowdsourcing. There are so may beautiful ways to approach the dance and it’s my greatest hope that the iTapOnline Community serves as a source of inspiration for tap dance teachers and students around the world. 

Recently, I asked everyone to share their favorite advice for beginner tap dancers. 

So here we go! Below are some of the top tips for beginner tap dancers shared by the iTapOnline Community and then I’ll share with you my go-to advice for beginner tap dancers.

Go slow!! And I mean don’t push for the harder stuff until you master the basics ~ Donna H.

Repeat, repeat, repeat! It takes time and a ton of repetition ~ Tracy B.

Don’t give up! Muscle memory starts to kick in after a few lessons and then it gets fun ~ Jennifer M.

LISTEN! ~ Ginger R.

Listen, stay positive, and keep going even when it’s difficult. Always just go for it and try not to be fearful of the sound not coming out every time. The more you work at it, the easier it will become. Tap doesn’t come easily to most. Lots of repetition is key! ~ Liane F.

Practice, practice, practice. Even if you can’t remember the exact combo, practice something anyway ~ Audra L.

Remember all those with more experience started out like you ~ Sherri D.

I love to tell beginners that are older – say, pre-teens and up to adult – that it’s just fancy walking. It makes it so accessible ~ Gabrielle B.

Give yourself at least 3-6 months to start to feel comfortable and the muscle memory to kick in. It doesn’t happen in one class or even two, it takes time. This is my mantra, especially for my adult students ~ Annette R.

Add Jazz into your DAILY musical diet ~ Maurice M.

As someone who started tap in their 30s, enjoy the ride. It’s so cool to see yourself improve over the years ~ Susan L.

If you can say it, you can do it! If you are able to say the combination or sing it in rhythm, eventually you’ll be able to get your feet and legs to make it happen. ~ Nicole S.

Arthur Duncan once told me, ‘there’s no such thing as making a mistake when performing… it’s just a world premiere!’ Great advice! ~ Kathleen C.

Honey, it ain’t wrong, it’s improv, now try it again ~ Dory K.

Tap is for everybody and perfection isn’t necessary. Just keep working and enjoy the journey. ~ Jessica F.

Always think of yourself as a musical instrument ~ Fred W.

Hillary-Marie’s Advice for Beginner Tap Dancers

  1. You’re learning a language and that takes both practice and time. I like to joke that tap dancers are multi-lingual because we speak shuffle hop step flap, and a 1 e and a 2, and we scat. That’s three languages right there! So take a moment, think about how cool that is, be patient and get to practicing. 
  2. The first few months of Tap Dance are all about learning the basics. It’s like going back to the start and tracing the alphabet. You’ve gotta learn how to write your letters, and from there, you can learn your basic words. That’s the first few months, and it can feel slow when you’re drilling your basics, your shuffles, flaps, cramp rolls, etc., but once you get those basics down, you get to start learning more challenging combination steps like waltz clog, single timestep, and phrases of choreography. So I’m always telling them about the next cool thing that’s coming.