DanceMaster is a music player that is specifically optimized for rehearsal. It works a little differently than most other music players.  This page collects answers to some common questions about how DanceMaster works.

Playback

Every time you pause the music, DanceMaster returns to the last place you started playing.  This makes it easy to practice to a section of the music over and over again.

Cues

DanceMaster allows you to set cues in the music that you can easily jump to at any time. In addition, you can add a configurable lead-in time to all cues in a choreography.  The lead-in time sets the jump point for each cue a little before the actual cue time, giving you time to count in, but keeping your cue marks where they should be.

To edit a cue's name and add notes, swipe left on the cue and tap "Edit."  You can also tap and hold on a cue to edit the cue.

To delete a cue, swipe left on the cue in the table and tap "Delete".

Tempo Adjustment

You can easily change the tempo of the song for a choreography. Tempo adjustment can be turned on and off without losing the selected tempo, which is great for switching between rehearsal and performance tempos.

If the song you are using for your choreography has the "BPM" field set in iTunes, DanceMaster will show you tempos and cue lead-ins in beats instead of in seconds.  You can also set the original BPM for a choreography directly in DanceMaster.  The original BPM setting is located on the Edit Choreography page, which you can access by tapping on the musical note icon in the upper right.

Importing Music

When you create a new choreography in DanceMaster, you can choose any piece of music from your music library that is on your device and not restricted by DRM. There are, however, lots of other ways to get music into the app that might be more convenient for your situation.

From other apps:

DanceMaster can open any standard audio file, which means that if you have an audio file in Mail, Messages, Notes, or even third-party apps like Dropbox, you can easily open it in DanceMaster. The exact way this works depends on the app, but look for the share icon, then either a "Copy to DanceMaster" action, or "Open in..." action.

From other DanceMaster users:

DanceMaster also supports sharing choreographies directly with other DanceMaster users through Mail, Messages, and AirDrop. When you transfer a choreography this way, you are sharing both the music and all of your cues and notes for that choreography.

From Voice Memos:

Apple's Voice Memos app doesn't show apps that can open audio files in its share sheet. You can, however, share your voice memos to Notes (or to Mail or Messages), and then select the share option in that app to open it in DanceMaster.

From the web:

Safari on iOS does not allow you to download audio files and transfer them to external apps. There are some third-party apps that can help here, but, unfortunately, none make the process easy. I have used the GoodReader app to do this (and the process will be similar for other apps):

  • Find the audio file in Safari and copy a link to the file
  • Open GoodReader, select "Connect", and then "Enter URL"
  • Download the file
  • Tap and hold on the file after it has downloaded to bring up the options
  • Select "Open In..."
  • Select "Copy to DanceMaster" from the share sheet.

Apple Watch Tips

DanceMaster comes with an Apple Watch app that shows you the current and upcoming cues, and allows you to remotely control the app. The Apple Watch app can control any choreography that is currently on your phone.

By default, the Apple Watch is set to return to the clock face when you activate it by raising your wrist. For rehearsal, it is probably more convenient to set it to resume to the last used app, so that DanceMaster will be immediately available when the watch activates. To do this, go to the Settings app on the watch, and under General > Activate on Wrist Raise > Resume To, select Last Used App.

Also note that double-pressing the digital crown toggles between the clock face and the last used app, so if you don't set this activation setting, you can still quickly get back to your last used app by using this shortcut.

Preventing Screen Locking

Ordinarily, iOS devices will dim the display and then automatically lock themselves if you don't interact with them for a period of time, in order to save power. Since you don't need to tap the screen much while music is playing in DanceMaster, this will sometimes occur while you are rehearsing. Although DanceMaster will work fine while the device is locked, this is inconvenient during rehearsal for a couple of reasons:

  • When the display is dimmed, the first tap wakes up the device and doesn't do anything else (like pause or play the music). Similarly, if the device is locked, you need to wake it to get audio controls you can use.
  • If your device is protected with a passcode and the device locks itself, you will need to enter it in order wake the device and see the app again. This is inconvenient not only for you, but for anyone else who wants to control the music during rehearsal.

Conveniently, DanceMaster has a setting that allows you to turn off the default device locking behavior. To do this, select "Settings" from the main menu, and turn on "Disable Screen Locking".

With screen locking disabled, your device will not automatically dim the screen or lock itself as long as DanceMaster is running and you have an active choreography. You can still lock the device manually, and it may still lock the screen if you leave the app (even if DanceMaster is still running in the background).

This setting is extremely convenient for rehearsals or for teaching, especially in situations where you always want the app to be able to respond instantly, or you want to follow along with the screen in a long choreography, or when several people may need to start and stop the music in rehearsal.  

You should be aware, however, that leaving the screen on all the time will cause your device to use more power, and may reduce your battery life.

Speaking Cues

When you are first learning a choreography in rehearsal, it is often helpful to have someone call out what comes next, to help you learn and remember the choreography. DanceMaster lets you record all your cues, but when you are rehearsing on your own, you don't have someone to call them out for you, and it is pretty difficult to look at an iPhone (or iPad!) screen while you are dancing.

To help with this problem, DanceMaster can read your cues to you during playback, so you can put down your device and focus on learning the movement.

To turn this feature on from any choreography screen, tap on "Playback" in the lower right, and turn on "(Speak Cue Names) During Playback". You can also access this setting from the main settings menu for the app.

When this feature is enabled, DanceMaster will read out the cue names during playback at the appropriate times. If you have set a cue lead-in time for the choreography, the speaking will start at the lead-in time before each cue (the same time you would jump to when jumping to a cue).

Missing Music

DanceMaster uses music from the music library synced to your device. It tries pretty hard to keep track of the music associated with each choreography, but if the music track for a choreography is removed from the library or altered in a way that prevents DanceMaster from finding it (such as changing the title or artist), it may be necessary to re-associate the music with the choreography or select a new piece of music. To do this, open the choreography, tap on the musical note icon to bring up the choreography details, and tap the button in the music section to bring up the music picker.

How Can I Get It?

DanceMaster is now available in the App Store.

Contact

Questions? Email info@dancemasterapp.com.

Follow @dancemasterapp on Twitter or App.net for updates