How to best utilize eight count music

That epic cheer routine you see on the stage did not just happen by chance. It took hours of careful choreography and months of practice with the squad to get that performance just right. As important as the skills executed in the routine is the musicality and performance of those skills. And nothing helps to highlight your squad’s hard work like the perfect cheer mix. If you are new to putting together a cheerleading performance, there are a few things that you should know about cheer mixes in general. Here’s how to best use the unique elements of 8 count music:

Know the Basics

Most of the music you hear on Spotify or TikTok is written in 4 counts. While there are a lot of time signatures in music, rhythms with 4 beats per measure are the most common in pop music. As a result, a lot of dance and cheerleading music is done in 8 counts, two units with 4 beats per unit. You may occasionally hear a 4 count, or even a 12 count, but cheer music is counted in 8 beat sections the majority of the time. This helps performers know when to hit a motion, dip for a stunt, or dish a cradle. The use of 8 counts helps your team synchronize their movements.

Understanding 8 Counts

Because most music in written in 8 counts, there are certain expectations for how those counts align with traditional cheerleading actions. For example, you might hear a choreographer tell you to dip on one. Most of the time the level changes in stunts are initiated on odd numbers. Meanwhile, in the cheer and dance sections of a routine, the hardest hits frequently happen on the even numbers. Understanding the traditions of how 8 count music is used in cheerleading will help you to use your cheer mix to emphasize your squad’s skills.

Using an 8 Count Track for Choreography

When you initially learned your choreography and started putting your routine together with your squad, you had someone who counted to 8 for you to help your team synchronize their movements. However, counting to 8 over and over again is pretty boring, and doing it at the same tempo for over two minutes is really difficult. That is why music providers like, and provide you with a track of music at a standard tempo which has someone count for you! These music producers have provided free tracks to use at practice. You can even find the music on YouTube! Once you have the track, you, your teammates, and your coach can focus on giving each other support and feedback instead of counting to eight 50 times in a row. Just hit play and show off your amazing skills. You can even perform your routine with the 8 count music and video the routine to help you fill out your 8 count sheets for your custom music. Having a video of the routine with a familiar track of music really helps music producers create the perfect cheer mix.

Using an 8 Count Track for Practice

Having access to 8 count music at the touch of a button can also help at practice. New Level Music has even put 8 count music tracks on SoundCloud to make them easy to access. When you and your teammates aren’t worried about shouting the numbers you can focus on proper breathing and technique, helping you to achieve your goals sooner. Cheer music can sometimes take several weeks to arrive, but if you can keep practicing to the 8 count music, you and your team can simulate actual routine tempo and become well-oiled machines when you receive your customized cheerleading mix. Understanding how 8 count music works will help you and your team create the best music which will highlight the hard work and effort you have spent perfecting your cheerleading performance.